Tillerson Ups Pressure on Pakistan

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addresses reporters at the Department Press Briefing, at the US Department of State in Washington, DC, USA, 01 August 2017. Photo: US State Department handout/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested Pakistan could lose US privileges if the government failed “to change their posture”.

He was speaking a day after President Donald Trump unveiled a new strategy, vowing to commit US forces to back Afghan forces fighting the insurgents. At the same time, he criticised Pakistani government saying it is not effective in the fight against terrorism and a safe haven for Taliban.

The US is considered a key ally of Pakistan. The country enjoys a special status as a non-Nato alliance partner and receives billions of dollars in aid. But Tillerson said these “could be on the table for discussion if, in fact, they are unwilling to change their posture or change their approach to how they are dealing with the numerous terrorist organisations that are hiding in Pakistan.

“It is in Pakistan’s interest to take those actions”, Tillerson said.

He also stressed that having a stable Pakistan was in the US and other countries’ interests.

“They are a nuclear power and we have concerns about the security of their weapons. This is not a situation where the US is saying ‘this is us and you’.”

President Trump warned a hasty US withdrawal from Afghanistan would leave a vacuum for terrorists to fill and said he had decided to keep troops there to “fight to win” to avoid the mistakes made in Iraq.

Pakistani government denied the allegations, while Afghanistan authorities praised statements from Washington.


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