Pakistan bemoans United States 'trust deficit' over Afghan conflict

Pakistan would not budge against United States demands Khawaja Asif

America's security "failures" in Afghanistan are evident from events of the week when visiting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson could not move out of a US military base and invited Afghan leaders to his "bunker" for talks, neighboring Pakistan said Thursday. Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Asif said he visited four countries of regional importance following the announcement of the revised U.S. policy towards the region. Pakistan does not need aid and the state wants equal ties, the minister said U.S. was told in the meeting. They (US delegation) were also apprised that there had been other influential countries including China, Iran, Russia and Turkey which could play their role in the region in this regard, the minister said. "Pakistan has also extended its consultation with Saudi Arabia regarding the USA policy", he added.

Dawn News reported he also told senators that Pakistani officials informed the American delegation that Pakistan does not want any military hardware, economic resources or material gain from Washington.

Nikkei said on Thursday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to propose the US-India-Japan-Australia idea to US President Donald Trump on 6 November when they plan to hold a summit meeting.

Giving a policy statement in Senate with a view to clarifying the conditions set by United States for Pakistan to carry forward the relations between the two countries, Asif said the U.S. has given a list of 75 militants of whom some have died while a good number of them is taking refuge in Afghanistan.

He said that Pakistan desires peace in Afghanistan and is making efforts, but a large portion of the restive nation is controlled by the Islamic State.

Last week, Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo said that for the strategy to work, the Taliban must be convinced they have no hope of winning militarily in Afghanistan and that means making it impossible for them to cross the rugged Afghan-Pakistani border and hide inside Pakistan.

"We probably listened 80 percent of the time and we talked 20 percent", Tillerson said.

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"However, if they want that we act as their proxies to fight their war. this is unacceptable", said Asif.

The daily noticed that the stronger language used by Tillerson against Pakistan while visiting Afghanistan and India will definitely rise Islamabad's problems. His reception was more muted in Pakistan, which is under increasing pressure to crack down on extremist groups and eliminate their safe havens. "Nearly 40% of Afghan territory is now under the direct control of the Taliban".

"They do not need our territory anymore".

Earlier on Tuesday, Asif has said there was a "huge trust deficit" between Islamabad and Washington over the conflict in Afghanistan.

He also dismissed the possibility of economic sanctions by the U.S.in case it does not tackle the issue of Taliban, saying that Pakistan only received "a trickle" of economic assistance from America.

US officials have long accused Pakistan of turning a blind eye or assisting the Afghan Taliban and the allied Haqqani network.

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