Pakistan, US attempt to soothe tensions over support suspension

The Trump administration recently suspended about Dollars 2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan over its failure to rein in militant groups.

The Trump administration also last week announced the suspension of about $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan - officially a USA ally - over accusations that Islamabad is playing a double game in Afghanistan.

Some U.S. and Afghan officials anxious that Pakistan would retaliate by ceasing to share intelligence or raising the costs for U.S. -led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces to use Pakistani air and land corridors into Afghanistan.

Wells noted that as an important country of the region, Pakistan's support was critical to the success of the US strategy for Afghanistan, the statement said.

At the time of Trump's tweet, a USA assessment of Pakistani compliance with those demands was still underway.

She also drew the attention of the USA delegation to the recent statement by Indian Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat and the ceasefire violations at the Line of Control.

The move has strained bilateral relations, with Pakistan's Foreign Office saying on January 5 that Washington's "arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements, and shifting goalposts are counterproductive" to addressing the threat of terrorism.

Col. John Thomas, U.S. Central Command spokesman, said officials are in continuous communication with Pakistan's military, including conversations between Votel and Bajwa.

The decision to freeze up to about $2 billion in security aid, according to a later estimate by U.S. officials, to a nuclear-armed ally is the latest example of how, almost a year into Trump's presidency, United States officials sometimes have to scurry to turn his tweets into policy.

US officials have given no assurances that as much as $1 billion in aid would resume.

The visit of Wells is the first visit by a senior US diplomat amid the heightened tension. "So now it is the job of Pakistan to take seriously their commitment to us and most importantly to the people of Pakistan who ... should want to root out terrorists in their country as much as we want to root out terrorists in their country".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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