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Monday Jan 08 2018

After Trump, CIA chief accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists


After US President Donald Trump's diatribe against Pakistan, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has now launched a barrage of allegations, accusing Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists.

Speaking to CBS news on Monday, CIA chief Mike Pompeo reiterated Trump's allegations, threatening Islamabad that they would 'protect' the United States if Pakistan fails to address the issue.

"We see that Pakistan is continuing to provide safe harbor havens inside of Pakistan for terrorists who present risks to the United States of America," Pompeo said. "We are doing our best to inform the Pakistanis that that is no longer going to be acceptable."

Reiterating Trump's allegations, Pompeo said: "If they fix this problem, we're happy to continue to engage with them and be their partner. But if they don't, we're going to protect America."

The CIA chief's statement comes amid a period of heightened tensions between the two nations that followed a similar accusations from President Donald Trump, who accused Pakistan of giving nothing but lies and deceit, thinking US leaders to be fools.

"They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Trump said in a tweet last week.

The US allegations have drawn a strong reaction from Islamabad over the past few days, with the summoning of the US ambassador to its Foreign Office in a rare public rebuke.

'Neither friend, nor ally'

Last week, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif slammed that the "US behaviour is neither that of an ally nor of a friend."

"It is a friend who always betrays," he said on Thursday, raising questions over United States' motives in the region.

"They, the US and allies, have the best and highly equipped forces. How come they could not perform in Afghanistan," he questioned, noting that Pakistan fought a war with its own resources and it succeeded in Swat, Bajaur, North Waziristan and other areas.

Aid blockade

Amid the US allegations, Washington also announced that it was withholding $255 million in aid to Islamabad.

"Today we can confirm that we are suspending security assistance only to Pakistan at this time," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said Friday, adding that Pakistan could receive the suspended funding if it takes decisive actions against Haqqani Network and Afghan Taliban.

'Suspension of aid to impact security cooperation'

The Pakistani military, in response to the US move, said that the suspension of aid would impact bilateral security cooperation between the two nations and regional peace.

“Suspension of security assistance will not affect Pakistan’s resolve to fight terrorism; however, it for sure will have an impact on Pakistan-US security cooperation and efforts towards regional peace,” said Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor.

Maintaining that Pakistan never fought for money, but for peace, Ghafoor said: The Pakistan Army has indiscriminately targeted terrorists, including the Haqqani network at a “heavy cost of blood and treasure.”


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