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All options on table: US

| | Washington | in Sunday Pioneer

After suspending its security aid to Pakistan, the United States has let it be known that it is considering further options to deal with Islamabad if it still does not act decisively against terrorist outfits that undermine American efforts in neighbouring Afghanistan.

“All options are on the table,” a senior official of the Trump administration told reporters, without going into detail. But the options are believed to include stripping Pakistan of its status as a “major non-NATO ally” of the US, increased drone strikes targeting the terrorist safe havens and pressuring Islamabad on IMF loans.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, also expanded late on Friday the earlier estimates of the security aid freeze from $1.15 billion to over $2 billion – including about $1 billion in planned military assistance, $900 million in Coalition Support Funds and $255 million under Foreign Military Financing that is already under hold since August.

“Certainly no one should doubt the US resolve to address this threat and all options I would say will be on the table,” the official said, noting that the US is looking at “a range of tools” beyond security aid to make Pakistan go after the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network operating from its territory.

“We’re looking at all options. We hope that we can cooperate with Pakistan. But we do have options that we’re considering,” the official said, stressing: “We can no longer accept Pakistan’s dual policies of fighting some terrorists while supporting others.”

“Unless we deal with the Pakistan sanctuary issue, it will undermine all of our other efforts in Afghanistan,” the official said, noting: “We believe we owe it to the Americans in harm’s way in Afghanistan.

We simply can’t ignore the sanctuaries if we are going to make progress in Afghanistan.”   




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