'Betrayed' Pakistan army chief won't ask for further United States aid

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2018

Col. John Thomas, U.S. Central Command spokesman, said officials are in continuous communication with Pakistan's military, including conversations between Votel and Bajwa.

The US aid suspension was announced days after Trump tweeted on January 1 that the United States 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".

Bajwa made the comments to Votel earlier this week during a phone call, a spokesman for Pakistan's military said in a statement on Friday.

According to Dawn, this was conveyed to Islamabad by Centcom Commander Gen Joseph Votel in a telephonic conversation to Pakistan's army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa last week.

Trump's tweet infuriated Pakistani officials and caught the rest of the USA administration off guard.

"This view, he felt, was undermining in Washington Pakistan's contributions in the war against terrorism", the ISPR statement added.

Last week, President Donald Trump froze payments worth $900 million from the "coalition support fund" for Pakistan, saying Islamabad is not doing enough to target Afghan Taliban and Haqqani group bases.

Votel also told Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa that the US was "not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan", but seeking its cooperation to capture militants based on Pakistani soil who carry out attacks in Afghanistan, the Pakistani statement said. "So now it is the job of Pakistan to take seriously their commitment to us and most importantly to the people of Pakistan who ... should want to root out terrorists in their country as much as we want to root out terrorists in their country". But it said the U.S. military was in "continuous communication" with Pakistan's military, to include recurring conversations between the two.

The spokesperson said Pakistan has also apprised the USA to help resolve the matter of Afghan refugees. Votel also told Bajwa the "U.S.is not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan", it continued. "We value mutual understanding of interests and concerns that we need to consider that might lead to a positive path forward", Thomas told AFP.

Bajwa responded that Pakistan is fully aware of concerns laid out by the United States in relation to the terrorist activities of Afghan nationals in Pakistan, and his country is already engaged in several operations against those militants, AP reports. He also said that Pakistan would not seek to unfreeze the funding, but does "expect honorable recognition of our contributions, sacrifices and unwavering resolve in fight against terrorism".

Gen Bajwa also communicated Pakistan's expectations from the United States, which included making Afghanistan agree to border control management and recognition of Pakistan's sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.

General Bajwa maintained that Pakistan, General is also strengthening border controls unilaterally but if Afghanistan genuinely feels affected by Pakistan, bilateral border management must be Kabul's top priority as well.

Other reports by iNewsToday