Pakistan has not implemented any significant changes in its support for violent terrorist organizations in recent months despite President Donald Trump’s new declared South Asia strategy, Top U.S. General in Afghanistan General John Nicholson told reporters Tuesday.
The senior most leaders of the Taliban are known to continue residing in Pakistan, Nicholson added and that the country has not quelled the movement of militants across its borders. Pakistan’s intelligence services maintain deep ties to violent terrorist organizations and the Taliban, the general also confirmed.
Taliban affiliate Haqqani Network, known to propagate some of the worst crimes in Afghanistan, also continues to operate with impunity in the country.
Pakistan’s intransigence comes despite the withholding of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid by the U.S. military. The Islamic nation cannot receive the funds unless Secretary of Defense James Mattis certifies their compliance in helping to combat terrorism.
Trump made changing Pakistani support for terrorist organizations a lynchpin of his Aug. 21 address on South Asia. “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor terrorists,” Trump declared in his Monday night address.
The new strategy will be a “substantially tougher approach to Pakistan than you’ve seen from the United States, and probably since shortly after the 9/11 attacks,” a senior administration official explained to reporters at the time.
Paksitan’s government has made little indication of changing course in recent days with the release of wanted terrorist leader Hafiz Saeed from house arrest in late November. Saeed has a 10 million dollar U.S. bounty on his head and is a known orchestrator of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
The release drew international condemnation including from The White House, who noted “If Pakistan does not take action to lawfully detain Saeed and charge him for his crimes, its inaction will have repercussions for bilateral relations and for Pakistan’s global reputation.”
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