Time To Expose Countries Funding Terror Like al-Qaida Said Trump

Time To Expose Countries Funding Terror Like al-Qaida Said Trump

Trump said, “It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups like al-Qaida, Hezbollah, the Taliban, and others that slaughter innocent people.

 ” He added, “We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. … The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the reemergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people. Last month I announced a new strategy for victory in the fight against this evil in Afghanistan. From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operation, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians. I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups.”

The UN statement is a continuation of his Afghanistan/South Asia strategy where Pakistan was put on notice as the country which was the sanctuary to the Taliban, long regarded as the reason why the Taliban received continued oxygen. Trump kept his attention on the core issue of his South Asia policy, that he talked about couple of weeks ago. “The next pillar of our new strategy is to change the approach and how to deal with Pakistan. 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 criminals and terrorists.”

Trump’s remarks come just days before US defence secretary James Mattis is scheduled to visit India as both courntries work out the contours of a collaborative approach to Afghanistan. India is expected to step up its game in Afghanistan and go beyond the current levels of economic assistance to Afghanistan. India will have a more difficult role to play with Russia which has intervened in Afghanistan — on the side of the Taliban, and therefore Pakistan.

 Pakistan leaders who have reacted angrily to Trump’s Af-Pak strategy have threatened to deny logistics support to US troops going to Afghanistan. These GLOCS (ground lines of communication) were considered to be vital for the US running its war in Afghanistan for the past 15 years. But as relations between the US and Pakistan tanked, the US began to use the Northern Distribution Network to supply its Afghan bases. But in recent years, security sources said, the US has reduced its dependence on Pakistan to just 15 per cent. The current US strategy also does not envisage large troop movements, since its mainly a counter-terrorism mission.

Pakistan has also threatened that the US move would drive it closer to China, and decrease US leverage. But this has been happening for some time anyway, said sources. On the other hand, with Pakistan in the US crosshairs on terrorism, China would face headwinds in its own expanding footprint inside Pakistan.

Far more important is the fact that Trump has denied Taliban the dignity of a legitimate political actor in Afghanistan, preferring to keep them in the terrorist bracket. This robs Pakistan of a key argument but is also a course correction by Washington – the US had refrained from designating Taliban a terror group to leave the door open for future negotiations.

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