Trump can’t walk away from Pakistan: says NYT


NEW YORK, Jan 07 (TNS): US President Donald Trump cannot afford to walk away from Pakistan, which has often provided vital intelligence and has the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal, says an editorial in the New York Times.

According to an editorial published in the New York Times, President Trump can ill afford walking away from Pakistan, and will need to acknowledge that Islamabad has and will continue to be a source of vital intelligence.

He would also have to keep in mind that Pakistan has the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal, which has always been a matter of regional and global concern.

“Whether Pakistan will cooperate after the aid freeze remains to be seen. Initially, some Pakistani officials reacted harshly to the announcement, which came as a surprise, but on Friday, a Foreign Ministry statement talked about the need for mutual respect and patience as the two countries address common threats,” says the editorial.

The editorial said: “Almost every military flight into Afghanistan goes through Pakistani airspace. Most supplies travel along Pakistani roads and rails. Pakistan could shut down American access at any Moment.”

Trump could marshal other diplomatic tools, to see if more constructive cooperation with Pakistan is possible.

On Saturday, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that she was not concerned about America’s ability to use Pakistan as a gateway to resupply US forces in Afghanistan.

So far, the Pentagon says Pakistan has not given any indication that it would close its airspace or roads to military supplies and US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis played down concerns.

“We’re still working with Pakistan and we would restore the aid if we see decisive movements against the terrorists — who are as much a threat against Pakistan as they are to us.”

But Washington has only just begun to work through its new plan to suspend up to roughly $2 billion in US security assistance, announced on Thursday. It came days after US President Donald Trump tweeted that Pakistan had rewarded past US aid with “nothing but lies & deceit.”

The senior Trump administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity acknowledged that a Pakistani cut-off would greatly complicate US resupply efforts in Afghanistan.

The official said the administration was developing “risk mitigation plans,” but acknowledged that examination of a northern network of alternative routes used in the past was “still at a very broad level.”

“If something were to happen to the ground lines of communication or air lines of communication through Pakistan, certainly that would be very difficult for the U.S. and we would have to look for alternatives,” the official said.