US, Pakistan try to ease tensions

ICC Under 19 World Cup- File

The escalating tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan over what Washington says is Islamabad's provision of "safe havens to terrorists" might lead to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation being cut off from Afghanistan.

Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party rules Pakistan's Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KPK) province, which borders Afghanistan, as part of a coalition government that includes the religious Jamaat-e-Islami party.

The downward spiral of US-Pakistani relations reminds people of what happened back in 2011 when North Atlantic Treaty Organisation killed 28 Pakistani troops and Islamabad responded by stopping the bloc's access to Afghanistan, forcing it rely on the much longer and costlier multimodal "Lapis Lazuli" corridor across the Caucasus and Central Asia. "Whether we would be able to communicate, I am not so sure, but of course we, countries, have to work with the United States".

In the weeks since the Trump administration withheld almost $1 billion in security aid for Pakistan, Washington and Islamabad officials have been working to patch things up and avert a risky deterioration in their often troubled relationship.

Islamabad denied Trump's assertions as "completely incomprehensible", saying it was fighting an anti-terrorism war largely with its own resources and was not in need of US aid. It was very insulting of him [Trump], the way he treated Pakistan. "I just don't think that that was very fair". The politician reiterated Saturday the war was launched to punish the al-Qaida network for plotting 9/11 attacks on the USA from Afghan soil.

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Khan added that he feels the United States has dishonored the Pakistani soldiers who have been killed fighting insurgents in its volatile tribal regions and the thousands of Pakistanis who have died in terror attacks.

"Pakistan had nothing to do with it", he said, adding that he supported co-operation with the United States but not co-opting Pakistan's military into a ground battle with its own people in the tribal regions that border Afghanistan and where Afghan insurgents hide.

Khan said Trump was using Pakistan as a scapegoat for the US -led coalition's inability to defeat the Taliban and that his comments were "very insulting".

The US General acknowledged the recent actions taken by Pakistan for the hospitality of Afghan refugees and agreed that both countries stand to gain from cooperative engagement.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of Sharif's ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party was sworn in as prime minister until new elections are held.

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