During Prime Minister Imran Khan's upcoming visit, the United States will press Pakistan to do more to help the Afghan peace process and sustain the recent crackdown on terrorists, going beyond the kind of “window-dressing” it has exhibited in the past in regard to the arrest of Lashkar-e-Toiba leader Hafiz Saeed and others like him.
“We have seen this movie before,” a senior administration official told reporters Friday, previewing President Donald Trump’s upcoming first meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan this Monday.
While the Afghanistan peace process is expected to be the primary focus of the meeting, Pakistan’s patchy counter-terrorism efforts will figure prominently. Khan and his delegation will be told, the official said, “the door is open to repairing the relationship and building an enduring partnership if Pakistan changes its policy with regards to terrorists and militants”.
Asked if restarting this aid could figure in the Monday talks, the official said, “We will consider changing the suspension on certain items in Pakistan meets our security concerns in Afghanistan and with regard to some of the externally focussed groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.”
The Trump administration also plans to press Pakistan to allow India-Afghanistan trade to transit through its territories as part of the discussion on trade, another of the major topics of discussion for the two sides on Monday.
“We think this would be a very positive step and would demonstrate Pakistan’s commitment to a peaceful, prosperous South Asia,” the official said.