The pressure was one in a series of actions that outraged the Pakistanis, causing them to shut down supply routes to American-led forces in Afghanistan for seven months. For him, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Having spent years criticizing America's involvement in Afghanistan, he now appears inclined toward an open-ended commitment, but with no real ways to measure success and no hint of a timetable for withdrawal. They are alarmed at the absence of any plan for living after being jilted by the US.
It was not clear if the wounded USA citizen was a military servicemember or a contractor. Trump's Afghan policy presents India a chance to increase sphere of influence in South Asia, a prospect Pakistan would try all means to undermine. The military aid paid under the Coalition Supports Fund is reimbursement for what the Pakistan army spends in counterterrorism operations in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.
The other major worry for Pakistan is the growing power of the Taliban. Where India can play a larger role is in developing Afghanistan economically.
Third and most important reason for Pakistan to be angry is India factor. What Trump is talking about is his expectation that India would more actively be part of the US Afghan settlement campaign. It can only approach China and Russian Federation for support, as due to geopolitical compulsions, they remain Pakistan's only support base. The general expectation in Pakistan for all their sacrifices is - that the Afghans would be grateful and friendly to them. If there are any doubts in American minds about Pakistan's capacity for accurate bookkeeping the matter must be resolved jointly by the auditors. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan looked elsewhere to China and even Russian Federation to play an active role in Afghan peace.
It is thought that the faster Afghan forces, who number some 330,000, can be brought to what Ahmadzai described as "maturity", the more effective they will be against the insurgents. Taliban are still controlling over 50% of Afghan territory and are stronger than ever before.
The statement could trap Pakistan in a pincer movement in which the very fundamentals of its national security policy would be challenged.
To date more than 2300 Americans have been killed and over 17,000 wounded in Afghanistan. From media to Parliament, the response from Pakistan was unanimous in condemning Trump's new Afghan approach. "Ordinary Afghans don't like the Taliban". What was most outrageous was when Trump said, "We are not nation-building again". Editorials called for a complete reassessment of Pakistan's support to the US. The other factor is Pakistan's ever growing intimacy with China, a country which the United States perceives as the major threat to its interest in the greater Asia Pacific and the Indian Oceanic region.
Of course, the USA government should have introspectively reached the conclusion that U.S. interventionism in the Middle East had helped create the problem, or at least exacerbated it and had directed it more against the United Sates. One factor is that these two successive administrations have translated the discovery of Osama bin Laden in a hideout in Pakistan (where he was killed in 2011) as Pakistan's indirect shelter for someone who was waging a war against the US.
If at all our facilitation is required for a political reconciliation in Afghanistan, we should be willing to do our bit - however limited or effective it might be. But, given the internal heat that has been generated by the anti-American sentiment, it is less likely that there would be an internal review of Pakistan's Afghan policy.
If Pakistan seeks to be accepted as a nation with no terror links then it would need to reconsider the way it operates against terror groups.
What we are left with is a set of intentions, which are what?
- The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.