Pakistan has suspended defence and intelligence cooperation with the US amid growing tensions over Washington’s suspension of military aid to Islamabad, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir has said.
US officials have said that almost all security assistance to Pakistan has been suspended following President Donald Trump’s Tweet on January 1 in which he alleged that Pakistan “gives safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan”.
Pakistani leaders had shown restraint but the Defence Minister’s statement could be seen as an indication of growing tension, Xinhua news agency reported.
“You see the facilities that we have extended to them (Americans) are still in operation. We have not suspended them. But there is also a wide field of intelligence cooperation and defence cooperation which we have suspended,” Dastagir said on Tuesday.
Referring to the US suspension of Pakistan’s aid, he said: “the recent suspension of military aid by the US comes in the wake of a more grave suspension, which is suspension of the strategic dialogue for more than a year between the US and Pakistan.”
He also complained that the US had not extended help to fence the border with Afghanistan in the rugged mountains to stop the cross-border movement of the militants.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have nearly 2,500 km of border, mostly porous, and the militants take advantage of the open border to move on both sides for violence.
Pakistan last year started fencing the border. Most fencing will be completed this year, according to military officials.
“It is convenient to blame Pakistan for cross-border terrorism whereas the US has not lifted a finger to help fence-up the border,” Dastgir was quoted as saying.
“Now all veils are off… It is time for a courteous yet ruthlessly candid dialogue between Pakistan and the US,” he said.
The US has long alleged that Pakistan was “providing sanctuaries to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network”, which are blamed for attacks on the US-led foreign and Afghan forces.