The US “has not seen a significant change” in Pakistan’s selective support to terror groups operating from its soil to threaten regional stability in Kashmir, or against American interests and Afghanistan, a top Trump administration official said on Friday. His remarks came amid US officials praising Pakistan for its help in securing the release of a US-Canadian couple abducted by the Haqqani terror network in Afghanistan.
Caitlan Coleman, an American citizen, and her husband Joshua Boyle, a Canadian citizen, were kidnapped in 2012 in Afghanistan while on a backpacking trip.
Coleman, 31, was pregnant at the time of abduction. All of the couple’s three children were born in captivity. “We have not seen a significant change in their (Pakistan’s) selective support of terrorist organisations that operate against our national security interests and operate against Afghanistan, or operate in a way that threatens regional stability in Kashmir with India,” the official told PTI.
“So, we need to suspend judgement and wait to see if there is a change in behaviour,” he said, requesting anonymity.
Many US officials have said that the release of the American-Canadian family was reflective of the changes in Pakistan’s approach. “It is way too early to make any judgement on Pakistan if there has been any change. In what we have communicated to Pakistani leaders is that we will keep our expectations low,” the official said, reiterating that the US has not seen any significant change in Pakistan’s support to terrorist groups.
The Trump administration, the official said, is going to do “anything to incentivise the continued support of terrorist organisations as we have in the past year by allowing Pakistan to enjoy the benefits of a warm relationship and with the US”.
That “warmth and trust that we had in the Pakistanis was not reciprocated,” he said.
America’s relationship with Pakistan, the official said, has changed and it is unlikely to see the repeat of the past. “It (US-Pakistan relationship) already has changed. It has changed because we are determined to remove any ambiguity about the nature of our relationship with Pakistan by adding a great deal of clarity,” the official said.
The senior administration official explained that this is a clarity “that no longer permits obfuscation about behaviour that cuts against our interests, a behaviour that is often cloaked in the status of a non-NATO ally”.
So, for anyone who has questions about the nature of Trump administration’s policy towards Pakistan and how that fits in to what it wants to achieve in Afghanistan and broadly across South Asia then they should just go to the speech given by President Donald Trump in August wherein he laid out clear expectations from Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.
“He (Trump) held out tremendous possibilities associated with our relationship with Pakistan. But made very clear that we would not be able to realise those opportunities and the potential and the relationship until we until we saw an end to the contradictions in that relationship,” he added.