The United States on Friday issued its direst warning to Pakistan to roll up terrorist groups operating in the country and end the establishment support for such groups, warning that if Islamabad chose not to act, Washington will find ways to achieve its objectives.
Days after US Secretary of States Rex Tillerson stopped in Islamabad for four hours to deliver a blunt message that American support to Pakistan was ”conditions-based,” Senior US officials who accompanied him on the trip signaled that Washington had devised other ways to achieve its objective of eliminating terrorist groups and stabilising Afghanistan.
“It’s up to them whether or not they want to work with us,” acting assistant secretary of state for South Asia Alice Wells told reporters Wells. ”And if they don’t … then we’ll adjust accordingly.”
In language that echoed that cryptic warning, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told PTI that the US will “adjust” its tactics and strategies to achieve the objective in a “different way.”
Dismissing Pakistan’s bogus narrative – largely for its domestic consumption – that India and US are backing terror groups in Afghanistan that are attacking Pakistan, Wells said Washington wanted Pakistan to show the same commitment it made to defeat militant groups domestically to those threatening Afghanistan or India.
Pakistan’s recent tactics include cooking up stories about India’s alleged support to the Teherik-E-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and tales of Indian subversives in Pakistan, for neither of which it has produced any conclusive evidence.
It has also invoked support from (real) allies such as China, and purported allies such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Turkey to counter US pressure.
But the Tillerson mission has evidently ignored Pakistan’s diplomatic gambits and rebuffed its self-serving narratives that have also been rejected at international forums including at the U.N., where Pakistani officials have attempted to present dossiers claiming Indian subversion in Pakistan.
Instead, Tillerson appears to have sternly told Islamabad that the US fears for Pakistan’s own future if the country remains in denial about its continued support to terror groups.
Pakistan keeps repeating the claim that it has taken a lead role in the war on terror and has suffered as a consequence, although its establishment still nurtures US and UN designated terrorists such as Hafiz Saeed, Maulana Masood Azhar, and Dawood Ibrahim.