Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Trump administration has transformed Pakistan into an outright enemy of the United States, instead of keeping it in play by suspending security assistance to worth $255 million to the only Muslim country with nuclear weapons.
The new restrictions covering security assistance are above and beyond the $255 million for Pakistani purchases of American military equipment. It will also have serious consequences for the U.S.-led military campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and will further strengthen ties between Pakistan and China, its patron.
The U.S. Department of State said the new action targets payments of Coalition Support Funds the U.S. pays to Pakistan as reimbursement for the latter’s counterterrorism operations. Those funds are typically paid late in a year, and require U.S. certification.
The move follows Donald Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet that blasted Pakistan for playing U.S. leaders for “fools.” Trump also complained Pakistan isn’t doing enough to combat Islamic militants attacking U.S. personnel in Afghanistan.
Trump said the U.S. had “foolishly” given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years and had gotten nothing in return but “lies & deceit.” He repeated his longstanding allegations that Pakistan gives “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.”
The question now is how Pakistan will retaliate to Trump’s bellicosity.
The most damaging to the U.S. is for Pakistan to shut down the ground lines of communication, or GLOC, which are the roads through which U.S. weapons and supplies are brought into neighboring Afghanistan.
GLOC represents the cheapest way of getting supplies to U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan closed GLOC from Nov. 2011 to July 2012 after a friendly fire incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Later analysis revealed that that costs for getting needed supplies into Afghanistan jumped from $17 million a month to $104 million a month.
Military analysts believe Pakistan will close GLOC in retaliation.
Pakistan has tried to counterbalance its alliance with the U.S. with one from China, including its military relationships.
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