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

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


Migrant rescue ship docks in Spain’s Mallorca

Updated 46 min 36 sec ago
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Migrant rescue ship docks in Spain’s Mallorca

  • Video posted by the group showing the floating bodies and the rescue of another woman still alive caused outrage across Europe
  • The rescuers had refused to dock in Italy saying they didn’t trust how Italian authorities would handle an investigation into the wreckage

BARCELONA, Spain: A Spanish rescue vessel carrying two dead bodies and a survivor from a migrant boat wreck has docked in a Mallorca port after a four-day journey across the Mediterranean Sea.
The aid group Proactiva Open Arms had found the bodies of a small boy and a woman on Tuesday and accused Libya’s coast guards of abandoning them after intercepting dozens of Europe-bound migrants.
Video posted by the group showing the floating bodies and the rescue of another woman still alive caused outrage across Europe.
The rescuers had refused to dock in Italy saying they didn’t trust how Italian authorities would handle an investigation into the wreckage. Rome and the European Union have trained and financed the Libyan coast guard to halt the flow of migration.