A Game of Chicken With Pakistan

Trump withholding $255M in aid to Pakistan, as he accuses country of giving 'safe haven' to terrorists

Citing Pakistan's "unending saga of sacrifices" in the fight against terrorism, Asif wrote that "history teaches us not to blindly trust the United States..."

"We know that they can do more to stop terrorism and we want them to do that", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on January 2, adding that further action will be announced within 48 hours.

The American head-of-state had accused Pakistan and its leadership for providing safe havens and sanctuaries for terrorist elements and urged the nation to "do more" to prevent it.

Washington has confirmed it will withhold $255 million in US military aid to Pakistan this year, a threat it issued last August when Trump announced his Afghan policy, which took aim at neighboring Pakistan and demanded an end to Islamabad's alleged support for the Afghan Taliban.

Pakistan has criticized and noted with "deep disappointment" charges contained in a New Year tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump and said Islamabad could not be held responsible for the "collective failure" in Afghanistan.

In a Twitter post on the first day of 2018, US President Donald Trump had accused Pakistan of "lying and deceit" and providing safe havens to terrorists despite taking over $33 billion in aid. "The president is simply following through on a commitment that he made, because this is a president who does what he says he's going to do", she said. Trump's uncalled-for criticism has sent shock waves amongst those who were encouraged by the trilateral meetings among Pakistan, Afghanistan and China where besides agreeing on other issues they also resolved to join hands to fight terror in the region.

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Pakistan was not paid $300 million of $1 billion under CSF in 2015 and $350 million of $900 million in 2016 because the administration could not certify Pakistan and indeed taken decisive action against the outfit, which is at the heart of United States anger with Pakistan, described as "deceit" by the president recently.

Ayaz Sadiq, speaker of Pakistan's lower House of Parliament, told reporters this week a strategy is being discussed in the Parliament's national security committee following Trump's tweet.

"Just a few weeks ago, Trump praised Pakistan for starting to 'respect the United States.' The incoherence of our Pakistan policy works against our interests because it undermines the power of our hypothetical stick or the sweetness of our purported carrots", she said. This money could be given only if the administration certifies that Pakistan has taken adequate action against the Haqqani Network.

"It is impossible to compensate the losses we have suffered", he proclaimed, adding, "We lost 70,000 lives in America's war". Incendiary rhetoric will be matched in kind, especially during an election year. "If the USA escalates in kinetic terms with drone strikes outside the established zones, Pakistan can escalate in kind and attempt to shoot down some drones", said Mr. Lalwani.

As recently as October, Trump credited U.S. Pakistan has plenty of tools to respond to further USA coercive measures including closing the G-LOCS and A-LOCS [ground and air lines of communications], ratcheting up the temperature on the Afghan border, and reducing intelligence cooperation. "The administration seems to have done a U-turn on this approach so trust in these quiet communication mechanisms will atrophy", he said. But at the time, he provided no details as to how the USA would pressure Islamabad.

Hussain added that Trump's comments demonstrate "U.S. frustration at not achieving any stability in Afghanistan after more than 16 years of conflict".

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