Pakistan Aid Cutoff Is Wise and Long Overdue
For years now, I have been calling for a realignment of our international alliances, which are still based upon fighting the Cold War, in light of the reality of the resurgent global jihad. At last, we have a President of the United States who is taking steps to do just that.
Reuters reported Thursday that the Trump administration was “suspending at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan until it takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network militant groups.”
It added: “The U.S. State Department announced the decision, saying it reflected the Trump administration’s frustration that Pakistan has not done more against the two groups that Washington says use sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan that have killed U.S., Afghan and other forces.”
Indeed. Vice President Mike Pence recently made a surprise visit to Afghanistan, during which he correctly said: “For too long, has Pakistan provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations.” He warned, however, of what was coming, and now has: “But those days are over….President Trump has put Pakistan on notice. As the President said, so I say now: Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with the United States, and Pakistan has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists.”
Pakistan has been continuing this support for jihad terrorists up until quite recently. The Pakistani government just weeks ago released Hafiz Saeed from house arrest – the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai jihad massacre, a man with a ten million dollar U.S. bounty on his head.
Despite being our “ally,” the Pakistani government didn’t release Saeed into U.S. custody, but to freedom and the adulation of his jihad-supporting countrymen, as well as of Muslims in India. Saeed is immensely popular in Pakistan, which may be why the Islamic Republic ignored U.S. calls to re-arrest Saeed.
If they had arrested him again, they could have faced even more riots by Islamic hardliners, and Pakistani government officials are still reeling from recent riots in Islamabad in which six people were killed and 200 wounded as Islamic supremacists demanded the arrest of a government official on blasphemy charges.
Those riots were hardly the hallmark of a “moderate” or Western-oriented nation, and they were all the more reason why the sham alliance between the U.S. and Pakistan needs to be ended. Trump has accused the Pakistani government of “housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. And it’s true, with the most notorious of these being Osama bin Laden himself. Journalist Carlotta Gall, who reported from Afghanistan for the New York Times for twelve years, reported in March 2014 that
soon after the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The information came from a senior United States official, and I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha’s or one about him in the days after the raid. ‘He knew of Osama’s whereabouts, yes,’ the Pakistani official told me. The official was surprised to learn this and said the Americans were even more so.
He shouldn’t have been. It had been obvious for years at that point, and remains obvious, that the Pakistanis had been aiding the same jihadists that the U.S. government has been giving them billions of dollars to fight. The New York Times reported on that at length back in 2008. Not only did Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of the Pakistani government’s spy service, know the whereabouts of Osama, but so did many other top officials in the Pakistani government.
The Pakistani government, meanwhile, is getting U.S. money to fight terrorists. This is what they’re using it for: Sky News reported in January 2014 that “Pakistani officials have reportedly used a secret counter-terrorism fund to buy wedding gifts, luxury carpets and gold jewelry for relatives of ministers and visiting dignitaries.” This is better than funneling to the terrorists themselves the money that the Pakistani government received from the U.S. to fight terror, but it shows how seriously the Pakistani authorities have taken their role in the “war on terror”: not seriously at all. Three years have passed since these facts were revealed; the Obama administration, of course, did nothing. Trump has now taken action.
For far too many years now, the U.S. government has been suffering from a strange addiction: an addiction to shoveling huge amounts of money to old Cold War allies that aren’t really allies at all. The end of this farce with Pakistan should have come long ago; thanks to President Trump, it is coming now.
Article posted with permission from Robert Spencer