The US wants Pakistan to establish and maintain a military presence in Afghanistan but will not pay for the cost of such an expedition, the former chief of Pakistan’s intelligence service has told RT following a visit to the region by the US Secretary of State.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has once again accused Pakistan of providing refuge to numerous terrorist groups that threaten the region. “There are too many terrorist organizations that find a safe place in Pakistan from which to conduct their operations and attacks against other countries,” he said while in New Dehli, a day after visiting Islamabad.
“Certain expectations” had been outlined during his visit regarding “mechanisms of cooperation” that Pakistan must honor or face consequences from the US, Tillerson said on Wednesday.
US policy in the region focuses on military presence and not on maintaining peace, former director-general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and former director-general of the Pakistan Army’s Military Intelligence, Asad Durrani told RT.
“Essentially the policy remains the same and that is you have to dig in Afghanistan, stay there, keep the bases, keep the military presence. That is more important than either peace there or settlement there,” Durrani told Sophie Shevardnadze in an interview which will be aired on RT on Friday.
Washington has previously accused Islamabad of helping the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani-network militants – allegations that Pakistan denies.
In a bid to get the country to change its stance, Donald Trump’s administration has threated to reduce the aid to the country and even impose sanctions against Pakistani officials.
Speaking to Pakistan’s leadership on Tuesday after his visit to Afghanistan, Tillerson made the White House’s expectations of Islamabad very clear, reiterating “President Trump’s message that Pakistan must increase its efforts to eradicate militants and terrorists operating within the country,” according to a statement from the US Embassy on October 24.
Pakistan enjoys certain privileges as one of 16 countries that Washington introduced to a “Non-NATO Major Allies” club. As a member of this group, Pakistan receives billions of dollars in aid and access to US military technology. Pakistan can, however, lose such privileges if it disobeys US strategy in the region.
Durrani has downplayed the US threats, suggesting that Washington really has nothing to take away from Pakistan and that any possible sanctions would have no effect on the country.
Only “some hundreds of millions” have trickled down to Pakistan in terms of US aid assistance, Durrani said, claiming that as much as “90 percent” of the money goes back to Washington.
“Dependence on America? That finished a long time ago. I think this is a game – one of those myths that have been created. These billions of dollars never came,” the former intelligence chief explained.