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Amid mounting US aggression in the region, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif will set out for a four-nation tour to China, Iran, Russia, and Turkey.This is being done in a bid to garner more support to offset fraying ties with Washington after the announcement of the new South Asia policy last month. President Trump while ratifying additional deployment of troops in Afghanistan had called out Pakistan for its alleged support to terrorists besides asking India for a greater role in that country.

The civilian and military leaderships have given a unified response and defiantly rejected Trump’s allegations and threats of strikes from Tillerson and General Nicholson. The tour will kick start at a time when the country’s National Security Committee is finalizing a policy response, which would take the recommendations of the lawmakers too. The National Assembly passed a resolution last week, calling upon the government to effectively sell the country’s narrative in the world through assiduous diplomacy.

This comes days after Asif canceled his meeting with his US counterpart, Rex Tillerson.The Pakistani government also postponed the visit of Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, to Islamabad.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said that the minister “will be visiting regional countries for consultations.”Asif’s upcoming trip sends a strong message to the US that Pakistan enjoys broad regional support.Iran, China, and Russia have already taken serious exceptions to Trump’s new policy, thus the tour is an attempt further strengthen ties with China and Russia, and also to iron out differences with Tehran.  Iran’s softening of stance with regards to Pakistan is being seen as a window to paper over issues that both countries have had lately.

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“We intend to work with Pakistan in order to take the terrorists down. I think that’s what a responsible nation does,” said Secretary Mattis last week while stressing the need for continuing the relationship with Pakistan.

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This comes days after Asif canceled his meeting with his US counterpart, Rex Tillerson.The Pakistani government also postponed the visit of Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs, to Islamabad. Moreover, as of this writing, talks and bilateral visits have been put on hold until Pakistan comes up with new rules of engagements with the US. Pakistan has asserted that new terms of reference will pander to its interests. Besides, Islamabad seems unfazed by possible aid-cuts and is mulling over the blockade of Air and Ground lines of communications, which have now become essential after the announcement of the new military-heavy Afghan strategy.

The US falls back

A confident-looking Pakistan coupled with the brazen attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan have compelled the US to arrest the fraying relationship between the two countries, which many believe is central to peace in the region.“We intend to work with Pakistan in order to take the terrorists down. I think that’s what a responsible nation does,” said Secretary Mattis last week while stressing the need for continuing the relationship with Pakistan.

Therefore both countries need to be cognizant of treading together if the seemingly intractable problem in Afghanistan has to be solved.

US envoy to Islamabad has clarified that India is not being given a military role in Afghanistan. He made these remarks in a damage control meeting with Pakistan’s National Security Advisor, Lt Gen Nasir Janjua. He also iterated that the US didn’t blame Pakistan for the failure in Afghanistan.”The additional US troops in Afghanistan will also act against Pakistan’s enemies,” said Hale while adding that Pakistan has an important role to play in the Afghan peace process.

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While the US finds it difficult to garner support for its new policy from within and outside Afghanistan and the US, it is hampered by its lack of options vis-a-vis Pakistan. Therefore both countries need to be cognizant of treading together if the seemingly intractable problem in Afghanistan has to be solved.

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