Islamabad seems to be preparing for a slight ‘strategic shift’ as the administration of the President of the United States has concluded on its highly anticipated strategy for Afghanistan.
After the announcement of the frequently discussed strategy that extends through to the South Asian region, not just Afghanistan, the authorities in Pakistan have little hope and optimism with their relationship with the Trump administration.
Two top officials who have a good knowledge of the plan have voiced out that Pakistan is considering several alternatives to counteract any outcome from the latest strategy for Afghanistan by the US.
Given the signs emerging from Washington, officials have agreed that the coming months are going to stretch the patience of Pakistan. Should any eventuality arise from any extreme actions by the US, one official admits that ‘the only alternative left to Pakistan is to seek a more in-depth and strengthened alliance’ with Russia and China.
Pakistan and China have a history together which spans several decades, but there have been a significant rise in cooperation site the ‘One belt’, One road’ initiative was declared by Beijing a few years back.
Meanwhile, the relationship between Russia and Pakistan has improved past the hostilities of the cold war era.
Both countries have obviously moved past their disagreements and are looking forward to a stronger partnership with respect to their economy, defense and political relationships.
“If the US does not take consider our legitimate concerns and just toe India’s line, then we will certainly move closer to China and Russia,” an official said bluntly while referring to Pakistan’s first “contingency plan.”
After Trump’s meeting with top security officials, he is believed to have come to an agreement on his new strategy.
The new plan is likely to seek strong measures against Pakistan in order to be persuade them to separate its ‘supposed’ accusations of links with the Haqqani Network.
Recent developments suggests that consensus was emerging in Washington to talk tough with Pakistan, this is also from statements from senior officials within the Trump’s administration.
Trump believes Washington is being ripped off by Islamabad and by so doing, he’s cutting off all military aid to Pakistan in a report made by ‘Foreign Policy’.
The US methods is aimed at ‘keeping us on our toes and under pressure’, says Pakistani officials.
An official who requested that his identity be withheld due to the sensitivity of the issue says ‘with the signals we are getting, we expect nothing positive in the new Afghan strategy’.
Due to Trump’s inexperience in handling delicate strategic and foreign policy issues, certain people are taking advantage of his naivety, said the official.
Islamabad has emphasized the need for peace talks rather than the use of force to put an end to the stalemate in the war torn country Afghanistan. Pakistan also gave it’s input on the Trump’s administration for the new strategy.
Trump’s administration has been looking at a range of range of options which includes sending additional troops to Afghanistan but according to many experts, 4000 to 5000 additional troops would make no difference.
The major worry of Pakistan is if the US will take any radical step to push the country to do more in the fight against terrorism inside Afghanistan.
US CENTCOM chief General Joseph Votel, who recently travelled to Pakistan, repeated the same demand after meeting with the country’s top civil and military leadership while simultaneously acknowledging Pakistan’s sacrifices for war on terror.
This is regardless of the what army chief General Qatar Javed Bajwa told the American general that “We seek acknowledgement of our decades-long contributions towards regional peace and stability” more than financial or material assistance,
The policy makers in Islamabad and Rawalpindi find it irritating that Hizbul Mujahideen has been declared a terrorist outfit by Washington, calls the act as ‘unjustified’ and ‘disappointing’ says The Foreign Office.
An official who questions the wisdom behind the US decision says “the US considers Pakistan’s help as key for bringing peace in Afghanistan, and when you hurt the interests of your ally, it will certainly create misgivings,”.