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'Betrayed' Pakistan army chief won't ask for further USA aid

13 January 2018

The US General acknowledged the recent actions taken by Pakistan for the hospitality of Afghan refugees and agreed that both countries stand to gain from cooperative engagement.

On Friday, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa told US Central Command Chief General Joseph Votel during a telephone call that Pakistan "felt betrayed" by criticism over its efforts in the war on terror.

Trump's administration last week announced the suspension of about $2 billion in security aid to nuclear-armed Pakistan - officially a USA ally - over accusations Islamabad is playing a double game in Afghanistan. The committee at the time said that the US was scapegoating Pakistan for its own failure to bring peace to Afghanistan after 16 years of war.

The statement further added that the top US General also conveyed COAS that US is not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan but is seeking cooperation to tackle Afghan nationals who, in US view, use Pakistan's soil against Afghanistan.

The move, first announced by Trump in a New Year's Day tweet, sparked indignation in Pakistan, which has long denied the US accusations of militant support, and accused Washington of dismissing the sacrifices it has made in the war on extremism.

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Trump has been less charitable towards Pakistan.

Tension between the United States and Pakistan has grown over USA complaints that the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network that target American troops in Afghanistan are allowed to take shelter on Pakistani soil.

The US military's Central Command did not comment on the content of their conversation.

Pakistan Army's public affairs division Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has released the details of Gen Bajwa's recent contacts with the U.S. leaders, Dawn newspaper reported on Saturday.

Spokesman Colonel John Thomas said Centcom is in "continuous communication" with the Pakistan military, including recurring conversations between Votel and Bajwa.

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A senior Trump administration official said last week that the United States was already examining ways to mitigate any Pakistani retaliation as it piles pressure on Islamabad to crack down on militants. But one Pakistani official who spoke on condition of anonymity said his government had breathed "a sigh of relief" as their USA counterparts played down Trump's comments.

And in 2011, a secret American raid in the military garrison city of Abbottabad killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, the architect of the September 11, 2001 attacks on American cities that prompted the US-led invasion to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan. Also in question is nearly $1 billion of USA military equipment that has allowed Pakistan access to advanced military technology.

Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan went so far as to tell reporters this week that Pakistan would cease "a wide field of intelligence cooperation and defense cooperation" with the U.S. He did not elaborate.

Pakistan was initially fearful that Trump would launch a strike in Pakistan - similar to the secret 2011 raid that captured Osama bin Laden outside Islamabad - and put its forces on alert the day the aid suspension was announced.

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'Betrayed' Pakistan army chief won't ask for further USA aid