Sources privy of the development have told the UK-based The Financial Times that Washington is examining tougher measures to quell more than 20 terrorist groups operating using the Pakistani soil.
The former Pakistani ambassador to Pakistan Hussain Haqqani has said “No US president has come out on American national television and said such things about Pakistan.”
Haqqani further added “US policymakers are at the end of their tethers about what they see as Pakistan not helping them while promising to help them.”
“Thinking of Pakistan as an ally will continue to create problems for the next administration as it did for the last one,” Lisa Curtis, former CIA analyst who now leads South Asia policy in the National Security Council, wrote in a joint report with Mr Haqqani earlier this year.
Ms Curtis, who works closely with the state department, believes the Obama administration “erred” by relying on personal ties and aid packages to try to change Pakistan’s behaviour.
In the meantime, Zalmay Khalilzad, a former US ambassador to Afghanistan, applauds the tougher line. “Pakistan has reacted publicly harshly but I believe we have got their attention and this is now serious and they are making noises privately to the Afghan government about getting together to talk,” he said.
The Afghan and US officials have long been criticizing Islamabad for remaining reckless to act against the Taliban and Haqqani terrorist network sanctuaries as they claim that the leadership councils of the two groups are based in the key cities of Pakistan from where they plan and coordinate attacks in Afghanistan, including some of the deadly attacks on US forces.
While announcing the new US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia last month, the US President Donald Trump strongly criticized Pakistan regarding the terror sanctuaries, saying “For its part, Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror. The threat is worse because Pakistan and India are two nuclear-armed states whose tense relations threaten to spiral into conflict. And that could happen.” -KP