WASHINGTON – US National Security Council (NSC) Spokesperson Michael Anton clarified on Tuesday that President Donald Trump put Pakistan on notice with his new Afghan policy.
Speaking to newsmen hours after Trump unveiled a bit harsh Afghan policy, Anton said that business as usual with Pakistan was now over.
The spokesman threatened that the Trump administration could impose sanctions on terrorist groups, including the Haqqani network, and any Pakistani officials ‘who are tied to these kinds of groups, you know, in ways that they shouldn’t be’.
The US official that visibly sounded rude expressed that the United States was really patient with Pakistan over the years but it was not getting a good deal in return.
Highlighting the security aid provided to Pakistan, Anton alleged that US was receiving ‘indifference to border crossing and terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries’ in return.
The official took a strong exception to Trump’s diatribe against Pakistan- fighting a war against terrorism from over one and a half decade- and alleged that in the worst case, the country was guilty of ‘active direct support’ for terrorist groups.
Rubbishing Indian Influence in Afghanistan
Anton shrugged off concerns of Pakistan regarding growing influence of India in Afghanistan while terming it an ‘excuse’.
‘What India is doing in Afghanistan is not a threat to Pakistan,’ he claimed.
‘They’re not building military bases. They’re not deploying troops. They’re not doing the things that would constitute encirclement, for lack of a better term, which is one of the things that the Pakistanis complain about,’ he alleged.
The NSC spokesperson claimed that Trump had benefited from an outsider’s perspective on the Pak-US relationship by foregoing ‘conventional wisdom’ that ‘however much the Pakistanis double-deal you and lie to you and don’t cooperate, you have no choice but to just keep the status quo.’
In a tirade of allegations aimed at targeting Pakistan, despite being an ally of US, Anton maintained that US had leverage points over Pakistan.
‘Ultimately whether they behave better or not is completely up to them,’ Anton threatened.
The official said that Pakistan should calculate whether they should ‘remain allied with terrorists’ or have a ‘good relationship with US’.
‘If so, that’s a choice that they will make and then we will make choices based on their choice,’ he warned.
It bears mentioning that Pakistan was expecting a hardline stance of US under Trump’s chair but Monday’s presser of tycoon-turned-president appeared to be a charge sheet against Pakistan, that lost over 40,000 lives in war against terrorism.
In his first speech to the nation as commander-in-chief, Donald Trump took a harsh stance against Pakistan alleging it of a softer stance against militants.
‘Our commitment is not limited [and] our support is not a blank cheque,’ he said.
Besides alleging Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists, Trump also cleared the way for the deployment of thousands more US troops to Afghanistan, backtracking from his promise to evacuate the war-torn region.
On the other hand, the Foreign Office (FO) on Tuesday rejected Donald Trump’s allegations saying “the policy ignores the enormous sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani nation” urging Washington to work with Islamabad against terrorism “instead of relying on false narrative of safe havens.”
Pakistan’s closest aide China stood in support of Pakistan saying the country was fighting against terrorism from the front line.
‘We are happy to see Pakistan and the United States carry out anti-terror cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, and work together for security and stability in the region and world.’ Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a statement.