Pak critical partner to US S. Asian strategy: Pentagon

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ISLAMABAD: The Pentagon, in an apparent attempt to lessen the damage caused by US President Donald Trump’s Twitter outburst, termed Islamabad a critical partner to its South Asian strategy.

The statement from the Pentagon comes a day after Trump sparked off a Twitter spat with the Prime Minister Imran Khan when he reiterated the allegations he had levelled in a Fox News interview a day earlier. The US president accused Pakistan of “doing nothing” for the US despite receiving “billions of dollars” in aid.

“The US and Pakistan have strong mutual interests in the region,” reported NDTV while quoting Director of Defense Press Operations for the US Department of Defense Colonel Rob Manning III’s comments during an off-camera news conference.

“As you know, they [Pakistan] are critical [and] vital to the South Asia strategy, including the facilitation of a peace process that would lead to a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.”
Manning also clarified that there was no change in the military-to-military relationship between Pakistan and the United States.

When asked whether the Pentagon differed with Trump’s views, the official said he did not have “any announcement on any change to the military-to-military relationship” with Pakistan.

The tirade received an angry retort from Prime Minister Imran Khan, who described Trump’s false assertions as ‘adding insult to the injury’.

“He [Trump] needs to be informed about historical facts. Pakistan has suffered enough fighting US’ war. Now we will do what is best for our people and our interests,” quipped the premier.

The United States has been upset over its military failure in Afghanistan where it has failed to defeat the Taliban despite squandering billions of dollars. Instead of finding a political end to the 17-year-long war, the US continues to push for a military victory.