Islamabad (GPA) – Pakistan has cut off all security ties with Washington according to their Defense Minister.
Islamabad unveiled these changes to the public in a speech earlier this week at an event hosted by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) by Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan.
This isn’t a total cutoff according to Dastgir, who said “You see the facilities that we have extended to them (Americans) are still in operation,” but did clarify that “there is also a wide field of intelligence cooperation and defense cooperation which we have suspended.”
This move by Pakistan was in response to the recent dust-up with the US following a series of tweets by US President Donald Trump on New Year’s Day. Following these tweets and the ensuing chaos several policy changes were made in Washington, cutting the amount of aid to Pakistan. Pakistan also switched to the Chinese yuan for cross-border trade with China, likely further angering the US.
Dastgir addressed these sanctions against his nation, saying “The recent suspension of military aid by the US comes in the wake of a more grave suspension, which is suspension of the strategic dialogue for more than a year between the US and Pakistan.” He also addresses Trump’s complaint that Pakistan was allowing terrorists essentially free movement over their border with Afghanistan saying, “It is convenient to blame Pakistan for cross-border terrorism,” but the US shares some of the blame for “not [lifting] a finger to help fence-up the border.”
Dastgir also pointed out that Pakistan is one of the nations’ most involved in the war on terror and that Pakistanis “need to remember and fully internalize is that today’s Pakistan is a post Operation Zarb-e-Azb Pakistan – which is one of the largest anti-terror operations in the world.” He went on to advise the Trump Regime to reassess their approach, stating that “The way forward is not through threats, notices or suspensions of supports. This distracts everyone from, the prize, which is sustainable peace in a democratic Afghanistan.”
According to Dastgir, this idea of a democratic Afghanistan “remains on the highest agenda of Pakistan’s foreign policy,” maybe even more than the US when compared to the status of the Afghan war as the “forgotten war” in the US. However, Dastgir also made clear that the Trump Regime wouldn’t be able to push Pakistan around and that “Pakistan remains adamant that the Afghan war will not be fought on Pakistani soil.”
The chairman of ISSI, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, also struck out at Trump’s handling of Pakistan and the Afghan war, saying “President Trump’s outburst has invoked a huge frenzy, and his ill-considered approach toward Pakistan is being criticised within the US as well. As fate would have it, Pakistan’s geographical location dictates that its security environment is of vital importance to the entire region.”
Update: According to the US State Department alleges that there has been no word from Pakistan on actually cutting any joint programs.
Also published on Medium.