McMaster says Trump wants change in Pakistan ‘policies’

  • NSA believes Pakistan fights very hard against militant groups, but ‘selectively’

US National Security Adviser General HR McMaster has said that President Donald Trump wants Pakistan to change its ‘paradoxical’ policy of supporting the militants who are causing great losses.

In an interview to a conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, he defended President Trump’s strategy on winning the war in Afghanistan by giving unrestricted powers to the US military based in the South Asian country.

US officials have often accused Pakistan of helping the militants, a charge Islamabad vehemently denies, but this marks the first time that the allegation has been attributed to President Trump.

“The president has also made clear that we need to see a change in behaviour of those in the region, which includes those who are providing safe haven and support bases for the Taliban, Haqqani Network and others,” McMaster said.

“This is Pakistan in particular that we want to really see a change in and a reduction of their support for these groups. I mean, this is of course, you know, a very ‘paradoxical’ situation where Pakistan is taking great losses. They have fought very hard against these groups, but they’ve done so really only selectively,” he added.

Commenting on Trump’s decision to win the Afghan war, Gen McMaster said he (Trump) has said that, “He does not want to place restrictions on the military that undermine our ability to win battles in combat.” He said, “He (Trump) has lifted those restrictions, and you’re beginning to see the payoff of that — as well.”

The US media reported earlier this week that in a July 19 meeting at the White House, President Trump berated his generals for not winning the war in Afghanistan and for allowing it to continue for more than 16 years. At the same meeting, he also repeatedly suggested to his senior military advisers that they should replace Gen John Nicholson, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, with a new general who could win the war.

President Trump has authorised the Pentagon to take the lead on military decisions in Afghanistan, although he formed a separate team of experts to form the new Afghan policy. He said that Trump disagrees with the Obama administration’s strategy of announcing everything, from US deaths in Afghanistan to the deadlines for sending in or pulling out American troops from there.

 

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