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The US National Security Adviser Gen H.R. McMaster has said that the Trump administration is working on a policy which will apply to both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and will be announced soon.

The US is mulling over a military-heavy policy option to turn the tables in Afghanistan since it employed the GBU 43 bomb against IS last month in Nangarhar, Afghanistan. A change in policy was deemed necessary because of Taliban’s unabated resurgence. There have been many deliberations and statements but McMaster is the first senior official who has talked about the new policy applying to Pakistan too.

The reference to Pakistan came days after the Intelligence community in the US raised doubts on Islamabad’s fight against terror.

“And so what we’ll have at the end of the next few weeks here is an opportunity for a much more effective strategy for the problem set in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the region broadly,” Gen McMaster told a White House news briefing this weekend.

The adviser said the administration was considering a proposal to send thousands of additional troops to Afghan­istan and President Donald Trump would decide when to do so after he returns from his foreign trips later this month. This is in-line with the request of the US commander General John Nicholson.

Read more: Pakistan-based Terror Groups will Target India and Afghanistan, warns US spymaster

In a statement to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Director National Intelligence Daniel R Coats talked about the threats emanating from Pakistan to its neighbors and the United States.

“Pakistani-based terrorist groups will present a sustained threat to US interests in the region and continue to plan and conduct attacks in India and Afghanistan. The threat to the United States and the West from Pakistani-based terrorist groups will be persistent but diffuse.”
– Daniel R Coats

He mentioned, “Islamabad’s failure to curb support to anti-India militants and New Delhi’s growing intolerance of this policy, coupled with a perceived lack of progress in Pakistan’s investigations into the January 2016 Pathankot cross-border attack, set the stage for a deterioration of bilateral relations in 2016.”

The word is that this new be Pentagon-led strategy will revolve around increased troop presence and aerial bombings. Recent events have compelled the US to think about a policy shift. The Taliban are attacking the US-trained ANA with impunity, as of now, they control 58% of Afghan territory.

The obvious inability of the Afghan state organs in dealing with the Taliban coupled with the Kabul-Delhi joint demand for action against Pakistan has forced the US to vociferously reiterate its “do more” demand.

What should Islamabad expect?

Pakistan is currently being accused of festering two potent resistance movements, one in Kashmir and the other in Afghanistan. Kabul, and New Delhi clamor for controlling an “unbridled and unruly” Pakistan through stern measures. Pakistan is thus engaged in tiffs with Afghanistan and India, both of which are likely to conflagrate further.

Chances are that the US might up its drone and aerial campaign to target alleged camps in FATA. Further, the US could also put pressure on Islamabad to clamp down on alleged training camps of Jihadi outfits like Lashkar e Taiba.

There are many senior ranking officials in Washington who buy the assertions of India and Afghanistan, to include Gen McMaster. He expressed his concerns during his visit to the region last month.

“As all of us have hoped for many years… We have hoped that Pakistani leaders will understand that it is in their interest to go after these groups less selectively than they have in the past and the best way to pursue their interest in Afghanistan and elsewhere is through diplomacy not through the use of proxies that engage in violence,” he stated in an interview with Tolo News.

He called upon Pakistan to fight terrorism in all forms and manifestation. This was reflective of long-held opinion about Pakistan’s cherry picking of terrorists. One can make out that the US will sternly ask Pakistan to end its so-called double game.

Read more: Will American plan to increase troops in Middle East & Afghanistan be a self-built graveyard?

Thus we can expect the US to exert much more pressure on Pakistan. Though, in a trilateral meeting held in GHQ Rawalpindi, the military brass of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the US agreed to take on Daesh through joint efforts.

Chances are that the US might up its drone and aerial campaign to target alleged camps in FATA. Further, the US could also put pressure on Islamabad to clamp down on alleged training camps of Jihadi outfits like Lashkar e Taiba. This is possible given what Gen McMaster said in the briefing about not allowing territories to be used for terrorism.

Gen McMaster said he would stress the need for “all of us have to be committed to achieving our fundamental objectives in Afghanistan,” which is never to allow extremists to use that country once again for launching terrorist attacks.

If statements are anything to go by, the US could very well carry out limited incursions inside FATA to pluck out inimical elements to US war efforts in Afghanistan. Concomitant to these would be the threat of sanctions on the pretext of Pakistan’s acquisition of Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNWs), something which was addressed by Daniel Coats in his statement. In all the policy shift could mar Pak-US ties in the days to come.

4 COMMENTS

  1. HERE IS ONE OF English newspaper reported the losses and suffering of Pakistan as a Allie of Amrica against Terrorism,
    : According to a report, Pakistanâs economic sector lost approximately $75 billion. The loans of Pakistan increased from 30 billion dollars to 65 billion dollars. The international imports, exports were affected badly in Pakistan. Till now the foreign investors did not invest their money in Pakistan. For this the Professor Zalakat Khan of Department of Economics, Peshawar University said:
    Professor Zalakat Khan: Pakistan suffered more than America and NATO in this war. Even the local people shifted their investments to the other countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Dubai. Pakistan believes that the partnership with America will be fruitful for it, but that affected Pakistan badly.

    Salman Ahmad: Besides the economy, the industrial sector also suffered a lot. For this, the executive member of the Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce, and president of âMutahhida Tanzeem-e-Tajiraanâ said:
    Muhammad Waris Khan Afridi: Here were 3500 industries, but now that number is reduced to 310. So a large number of people, who were employed in those industries, were unemployed. This unemployment leads to increase in crime rate and terrorism.

    Salman Ahmad: According to the âInstitute of Conflict Managementâ approximately 40000 people dead in the wave of terrorism, including 3000 security forces, and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa there were 200 suicide bomb explosions in which 2500 were dead and 6000 were injured. Pakistan Army started military operations in Swat and tribal areas. There were also two major incidents in which militants attacked at Army General Headquarters Mehran Base and Kamra Base.
    (Salman Ahmad-CRSS, Peshawar)
    ook below, this was the one piece from the report of 2012,

  2. Its a pity that the American top brass continues to see the situation through Indian lens. Pakistan has been and still is the victim of foreign generated internal strife and violence. Obviously Pakistan, unlike the US, does not have the option to go elsewhere and we will have to safeguard our interests, and the sooner that US policymakers realize that we will NEVER accept the Indian hegemony, the better it will be for the region and the world at large. US needs to remember that they are the foreigners in this area and once they sought Pakistani help in dislodging the Soviets. The same Pakistanis could bite back if bitten by the Americans, India or no India. In any case, India is dissolving slowly… and the process has already begun. Its too unwieldy and too diverse to withstand the doctrine of Hindu supremacy advocated by Mody and his coterie of extremists which grows by the day and become more and more vicious.

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