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Trump rules out hasty pullout, puts Pakistan on notice

Trump rules out hasty pullout, puts Pakistan on notice

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Aug 22, 2017 - 08:50

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): President Donald Trump on Monday ruled out a hasty withdrawal from Afghanistaninfo-icon, as he put Pakistaninfo-icon on notice for supporting terrorist groups.

In his prime-time address to the nation on America’s new policy toward South Asia, the president reached out to India for economic development of the country where US forces have been stationed for 16 years.

“A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum for terrorists, including ISIS and Al Qaida, would instantly fill just as happened before September 11,” said the president.

“A core pillar of our new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. I've said it many times how counterproductive it is for the United States to announce in advance the dates we intend to begin or end military options,” Trump added.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said America's interests were clear. The safe havens that enabled terrorists to threaten America must be shut down, he stressed.

And we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the worldinfo-icon, for that matter,” Trump said.

America would continue supporting the Afghan government and the Afghan military as they confronted the Talibaninfo-icon, he said. Ultimately, the Afghans themselves would take ownership of their future, to govern their societyinfo-icon and to achieve lasting peace, he remarked.

“We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists,” said the president.

The next pillar of US new strategy is to change the approach to dealing with Pakistan. “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond,” Trump said.

Pakistan had much to gain from partnering with the US in Afghanistan, and had much to lose by continuing to harbour criminals and terrorists, he said. “In the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner. Our militaries have worked together against common enemies.”

The Pakistanis had suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism, Trump acknowledged, recognising their contributions and sacrifices.

“But Pakistan has also sheltered the same organisations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.

“But that will have to change. And that will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country's harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. servicemembers and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace,” Trump continued.

Another critical part of America’s South Asia strategy is to further develop its strategic partnership with India, the world's largest democracy and a key ally of the United States.

“We appreciate India's important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the US, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan…” he concluded.

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