WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump warned Pakistan on Monday that Washington will no longer tolerate Pakistan offering “safe havens” to extremists.
“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations,” Trump declared, outlining a new US security strategy in South Asia.
“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 said in a prime-time televised address at a military base near Washington.
Going further, Trump suggested that military and other aid to Washington’s nuclear-armed ally is at stake if it does not clamp down on extremism.
“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting+ ,” he said.
“That will have to change and that will change immediately,” he said.
“It is time for Pakistan to dedicate to civilization and order and peace.”
More US troops in Afghanistan
Trump opened the door to an increase in US troops in Afghanistan as part of a retooled strategy for the region, overcoming his own doubts about fighting on in America’s longest military conflict.
Trump said his new approach was aimed at preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for Islamist militants bent on attacking the United States.
Trump expanded the US military’s authority for American armed forces to target militant and criminal networks. He said that US enemies in Afghanistan “need to know they have nowhere to hide – that no place is beyond the reach of American arms.”
“Our troops will fight to win,” he added, offering no timetable for how long US forces would need to remain in the country.
The speech came after a months-long review of US policy+ in which he frequently debated the future of US involvement in Afghanistan, where Talibaninsurgents have been making territorial gains.
The Republican president overcame his own doubts about the war that began in October 2001 after the September 11 attacks on the United States. He said repeatedly on the campaign trail last year that the war was too costly in lives and money.
“My original instinct was to pull out,” he said in his speech, but added he was convinced by his national security advisers to strengthen the US ability to prevent the Taliban from ousting the US-backed government in Kabul.
PAKISTAN is a TERRORIST FACTORY
Trump did not say how many US troops would be sent, but defense secretary James Mattis has plans on the table to send about 4,000 more to add to the 8,400 deployed in Afghanistan currently.