Hailing Donald Trump's new tough line against Pakistan, top US
lawmakers have demanded that Islamabad
be designated a "state sponsor of terrorism" and its major non-NATO
ally status be revoked to force it stop from supporting terrorist groups.
on Tuesday called out Pakistan
for supporting terror groups
and providing them safe havens within its territory. The criticism came as a part of his speech outlining the new US
strategy to end the 16-year war in Afghanistan
and bring peace and stability in the larger South Asian region.
"President Trump's speech marked a positive shift in US
policy, but it must not be limited only to words. If Pakistan
does not stop aiding terrorists with American blood on their hands we must cut all aid to Islamabad, revoke their privileged status as a major non-NATO
ally, and designate Pakistan
a state sponsor of terrorism," Congressman Ted Poe said.
He said Trump's speech was a rude awakening for Pakistani military and intelligence services, who "keep betraying" the United States while accepting billions in aid from Washington.
"Despite Pakistan's ongoing treachery, Islamabad
is among the leading recipients of US
foreign assistance since 9/11 and is praised in some quarters of the US
government as a 'vital' ally. This must stop - if we want to stabilise Afghanistan, we must deal first with Pakistan," he said.
Poe has a legislation pending in the US
Congress that calls for designating Pakistan
a state sponsor of terrorism
and revoking its major non-NATO
Congressman Kevin Cramer, too, applauded Trump
for applying pressure on Pakistan.
is an important partner in helping keep the peace, it's time they take decisive action to make clear they do not support terrorist regimes in the region," he said.
"The announcement that the Trump
administration plans to increase cooperation with India
couldn't come at a better time," Cramer said.
Congressman Drew Ferguson tweeted: "We must focus on removing terrorists safe havens and holding our partners in Pakistan
Senator John Cornyn, Co-Chair of the Senate Indian Caucus, rued that the previous administration of Barack Obama never held Pakistan
accountable for providing sanctuary to terrorists.
Congressman Tom Graves said Trump's plan for Afghanistan
and South Asia will eliminate terrorist safe havens and give US
troops more freedom to pursue the enemy, hold Pakistan
accountable and bring focus to the diplomatic strategy.
In his speech, Trump
did not give any specifics on increasing troops or timeline for successfully ending the war. He offered few clear changes, but the new policy moved from a strategy based on timeline to the one based on conditions.
Coons said it uses a regional approach to challenge Pakistan's troubling practice of harbouring extremist groups.
"Essentially, without committing to troop levels or timelines, President Trump
has said our strategy is to outlast the Taliban and other terrorist groups, and to only leave Afghanistan
once the Afghan government and its armed forces can maintain control of the country.
"This strategy would commit us
and our allies to a very long and likely very costly war for many years to come, and deserves to be fully debated and developed now that President Trump
has presented its broad outlines," he said.
Senator Ben Cardin, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said pressure must be increased on Pakistan
to end its support for extremist groups.
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