Pakistan says U.S. must not make it a 'scapegoat' for Afghan failures
KONFRONTASI-Pakistan rejected on Wednesday U.S. criticism of its efforts to fight terrorism saying it should not be used as a scapegoat for the failure of the U.S. military to win the war in Afghanistan.
U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his policy for Afghanistan on Monday, committing to an open-ended conflict there and singling out Pakistan for harboring Afghan Taliban insurgents and other militants.
U.S. officials later warned that aid to Pakistan might be cut and Washington might downgrade nuclear-armed Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally to pressure it to do more to help bring about an end to America's longest-running war.
Asif said Pakistan had suffered great losses from Islamist militancy - the government estimates there have been 70,000 casualties in militant attacks, including 17,000 Pakistanis killed - since Pakistan joined the U.S. "war on terrorism" after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The relationship between Pakistan and the United States has endured periods of extreme strain during the past decade, especially after al Qaeda militant leader Osama bin Laden was found and killed by U.S. special forces in Pakistan in 2011.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is due to meet Asif in coming days, on Tuesday outlined a range of options to change Pakistan's approach but conceded there were concerns about putting too much pressure on Pakistan.
"Attempting to isolate Pakistan will not yield anything but a dangerous sharpening of strategic fault lines," said Sherry Rehman, a senior opposition politician and former Pakistani ambassador to the United States.