Islamabad felt ‘betrayed’ at US criticism, army chief says

Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. (AP)
Updated 13 January 2018
0

Islamabad felt ‘betrayed’ at US criticism, army chief says

ISLAMABAD: Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan’s army chief, told a top US general the nation “felt betrayed” at criticism that it was not doing enough to fight terrorism, the military said on Friday, after US President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit.”
Gen. Joseph Votel, US Central Command chief, told Gen. Bajwa during a telephone call this week that the US was not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan, the Pakistani army said in a statement.
Tension between the US and Pakistan has grown over US complaints that the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network that target American troops in Afghanistan are allowed to take shelter on Pakistani soil.
Trump’s administration last week announced the suspension of about $2 billion in security aid to nuclear-armed Pakistan over accusations Islamabad is playing a double game in Afghanistan.
Islamabad denies this and accuses the US of disrespecting its vast sacrifices — casualties have numbered in the tens of thousands — in fighting terrorism.
The US aid suspension was announced days after Trump tweeted on Jan. 1 that the US had foolishly given Pakistan $33 billion in aid over 15 years and was rewarded with “nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.”
It is not clear what prompted Trump’s tweet, which infuriated Pakistani officials and caught the rest of the US administration off guard.

The Pakistani statement on Friday did not directly refer to Trump’s tweet.
“(Bajwa) said that entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed over US recent statements despite decades of cooperation,” the army said, referring to the phone call between Bajwa and Votel.
The Pakistani assertion that Votel said no unilateral action inside Pakistan was being considered may have referred to the possibility of cross-border US drone strikes and other military missions targeting Taliban and other militant figures outside the border area.
In 2016, a US drone killed the then-leader of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, prompting protests from Islamabad of a violation of sovereignty.
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 Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on American cities that prompted the US-led invasion to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Since Trump took office, there have been several drone strikes in Pakistan’s border region but they have not so far gone deeper into Pakistani territory, though Islamabad believes that is on a menu of punitive actions the US administration is considering.
However, the US military is also concerned that the Pakistani army, which effectively runs foreign policy, might close the air and land corridors on which US-led troops and Afghan forces in landlocked Afghanistan depend for supplies. So far, Pakistan has not done so.


Trump wants to meet Putin in Paris on Nov. 11: Bolton

US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Vietnam, in this November 11, 2017 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 12 min 34 sec ago
0

Trump wants to meet Putin in Paris on Nov. 11: Bolton

  • Both leaders will be in Paris for the Nov. 11 World War I commemorations, which 60 heads of state and government are expected to attend

MOSCOW: Donald Trump wishes to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin when the two visit Paris on Nov. 11 for World War I commemorations, the US president’s National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday.
“I think President Trump will look forward to seeing you in Paris on the sidelines of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice,” Bolton told Putin in televised remarks as the two met for talks in Moscow.
Putin said: “It would be useful to continue a direct dialogue with the president of the United States... for example in Paris, if the American side is interested.”
Both leaders will be in Paris for the Nov. 11 World War I commemorations, which 60 heads of state and government are expected to attend.
Trump and Putin held their first bilateral summit in Helsinki in July, after which the US president came under strong criticism at home for adopting a very conciliatory tone with his Russian counterpart.
Bolton met Monday with several senior Russian officials before his talks with Putin. His visit comes after Trump announced that the United States would pull out of the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) signed by president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader.