Efforts under way to ease US-Pakistan tensions over aid suspension


Tension between the United States and Pakistan has grown over USA complaints that the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network that target American troops in Afghanistan are allowed to take shelter on Pakistani soil.

Speaking to the US CENTCOM commander Gen. Joseph Votel, the Pakistani Army Chief said "Pakistan is fully aware of US concerns on activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan and we are already undertaking multiple actions through Operation "Radd ul Fasaad" to deny any residual capacity to terrorists of all hue and colour for which return of Afghan Refugees is an essential prerequisite".

Pakistan's army chief told a top US general the nation "felt betrayed" by criticism that it was not doing enough to fight terrorism, the Pakistani military said on Friday, after US President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of "lies and deceit".

Gen Votel reportedly assured General Bajwa that Washington "is not contemplating any unilateral action" inside the country, the ISPR statement said.

The phone call comes on the heels of a tweet sent out by President Trump earlier this month, criticizing his country's long-standing policy of sending security aid to Pakistan.

Aizaz said the message by the U.S. leadership has not gone well with Pakistan and its people and President Trump's tweet was rather a surprise for all.

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She deferred the questions at first, but finally responded by saying that though she supports the president, "I'm not a Trump apologist".

A Central Command spokesman confirmed Votel's contact with Bajwa.

Khan's observations come amid renewed United States criticism and withholding of security assistance to Pakistan over its alleged failure to take decisive action against militant groups hostile to the US. "We're hopeful for future cooperation from Pakistan", Steve Goldstein, US Under Secretary of State said in a statement.

Pakistan initially feared that Trump would launch a strike in Pakistan - similar to the 2011 raid to capture Osama bin Laden outside Islamabad - and put its forces on alert the day the aid suspension was announced.

Some U.S. and Afghan officials anxious that Pakistan would retaliate by no longer sharing intelligence or raising the costs for U.S. -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces to use Pakistani air and land corridors into Afghanistan.

The US is developing risk communication plans to access landlocked, which is now dependent on Pakistan, a official has said.The decision comes after relationship between the US and Pakistan nosedived as a result of administration's decision to suspend approximately $2 billion in security assistance as was not willing to take decisive actions against terror groups operating from its territory.