`A mad scramble': How Trump tweet on Pakistan blindsided US officials

`A mad scramble': How Trump tweet on Pakistan blindsided US officials

'Betrayed' Pakistan army chief won't ask for further US aid

The Trump administration subsequently suspended almost $2 billion in security assistance to Islamabad until it takes "decisive action" against alleged Afghan militant sanctuaries on Pakistani soil.

Tension between the United States and Pakistan has grown over U.S. complaints that the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network that target American troops in Afghanistan are allowed to take shelter on Pakistani soil.

Last week, the said the USA favours supply routes through Pakistan because of cost, but has built flexibility into its Afghan supply lines to avoid over-reliance on any single option.

According to Dawn, this was conveyed to Islamabad by Centcom Commander Gen Joseph Votel in a telephonic conversation to Pakistan's army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa last week. Bajwa assured Votel that Pakistan would continue to follow through with its counter-terrorism plans without United States financial support, according to AP.

Votel also told Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa that the USA was "not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan", but is seeking its cooperation to capture militants based on Pakistani soil who carry out attacks in Afghanistan, the Pakistani statement said.

In a telling sign of his priorities for the year, Trump's first foreign policy tweet of 2018 slammed Pakistan and was soon thereafter followed up by the suspension of an estimated $900 million of military aid to the South Asian state.

See: Is Imran Khan really Pakistan's Donald Trump?

"We value mutual understanding of interests and concerns that we need to consider and might lead to a positive path forward", US Central Command spokesman Air Force Col. John Thomas said.

Khan's observations come amid renewed USA criticism and withholding of security assistance to Pakistan over its alleged failure to take decisive action against militant groups hostile to the US. But a Pakistani official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the government had breathed "a sigh of relief" as their USA counterparts played down Trump's comments.

And in 2011, a secret American raid in the military garrison city of Abbottabad killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, the architect of the September 11, 2001 attacks on American cities that prompted the US-led invasion to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Also in question is nearly $1 billion of U.S. military equipment that has allowed Pakistan access to advanced military technology.

A top American general has told Pakistan's army chief the US military does not intend to conduct any unilateral strikes inside the country and both sides emphasized the need for continued cooperation to fight terrorism, an official announcement said Friday.

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