If Pakistan doesn't act against terror groups, we'll find a 'different way'

Monday, 30 Oct, 2017

The Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice G. Wells, who was part of the USA delegation that accompanied Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, told reporters in a briefing that it is all about Pakistan's strategic choice.

US Secretary of State Tillerson, flanked by his delegation participate in a bilateral meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the Pakistani Government of Representatives at the Prime Minister's House in Islamabad, Pakistan on October 24, 2017. I said to them, "You can do it or you can decide not to do it". "Do you want your children and grandchildren fighting this same fight?Because that's the way it's going to be if you don't find a different way to go forward". "We'll adjust our plans accordingly and we'll deal with it ourselves".

Noting that the future course of action would be based on conditions on the ground, he said the entire South Asia strategy is a conditions-based strategy.

While there are areas of divergence between the United States and India, including on Pakistan, Mr Tillerson's visit to India has put bilateral ties on a firmer footing.

"We've made clear to the Taliban: You will never achieve a military victory", Tillerson told a news conference October 26. "You're a sovereign country".

It was not surprising for me to understand that a negative perception has been built in the U.S. using the obsession of presence of Haqqani network in Pakistan, which the Indian lobby in USA, has very successfully created against Pakistan. As regards the allegation of Taliban militants using safe havens in Pakistan, he said, the other side had been told that 45 percent of Afghanistan is under Taliban control, which is sufficient for them to establish sanctuaries to plan and execute terrorist activities, and hence "they do not need Pakistani territory for that goal". We put our expectations forward in no uncertain terms. And either people will step up and meet those expectations or they won't. Nuclear-armed Pakistan, a staunch U.S. Cold War ally and key player in the US-backed invasion of Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, has watched warily as Washington has in recent years pivoted towards its arch-foe.

John Kiriakou, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who led counterterrorism operations in Pakistan in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, explained the situation on Friday's Loud & Clear broadcast. In Afghanistan, Rex Tillerson categorically demanded Pakistan to play an active role in the process of eliminating terrorism but when the American Secretary of State visited Pakistan, there were only statements of appreciation for Pakistan's role in the war against terrorism instead of any demands for further conciliation with America. USA officials have indicated they have more tools at their disposal if Pakistan remains defiant or in denial. But we've also invited greater sharing from them as well.

Readers may recall that just last month Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria had accused New Delhi of developing "a clandestine nexus with groups based in Afghanistan" adding, "We have evidence to this effect, which was shared with the United States, the UN Secretary General as also with the Afghanistan authorities".