U.S. National Security Adviser Gen H.R. McMaster has conveyed President Donald Trump’s stern message to Pakistan to change its ‘paradoxical’ policy of supporting the Taliban, Haqqani network and other militants who are causing the country great losses., media reports on Sunday said.
U.S. officials have often accused Pakistan of helping the militants, a charge Islamabad vehemently denies, but this marks the first time that the allegation has been attributed to President Trump.
“The President has also made clear that we need to see a change in behaviour of those in the region, which includes those who are providing safe haven and support bases for the Taliban, Haqqani Network and others,” the Dawn quoted McMaster as saying.
“This is Pakistan in particular that we want to really see a change in and a reduction of their support for these groups. I mean, this is of course, you know, a very paradoxical situation where Pakistan is taking great losses. They have fought very hard against these groups, but they’ve done so really only selectively,” he added.
Defending President Trump’s strategy on winning the war in Afghanistan by giving unrestricted powers to the US military based in the war-torn country, McMaster said, “The president has said that he does not want to place restrictions on the military that undermine our ability to win battles in combat.”
“He has lifted those restrictions, and you’re beginning to see the payoff of that – as well.”
In a July 19 meeting at the White House, President Trump berated his generals for not winning the war in Afghanistan and for allowing it to continue for more than 16 years.
Trump also “repeatedly suggested” to his senior military advisers that they should replace Gen John Nicholson, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, with a new general who could win the war.
But McMaster seems to disagree with this suggestion and said “I’ve known him for many years. I can’t imagine a more capable commander on any mission.”
Although the White House has not announced a comprehensive strategy on Afghanistan yet, McMaster said “the president’s already made some important decisions on Afghanistan”.