Trump’s Pakistan action could raise costs of Afghan war, analysts say

Besides withholding financial aid, some experts are suggesting the Trump administration impose sanctions as well as travel restrictions on Pakistan to pressure the idea stop providing a safe haven for terrorists.

Yet such action comes with risks of which the idea could raise the cost of the Afghanistan war as well as jeopardize the U.S.-led coalition’s access to key Pakistani supply lines, according to national security analysts.

In his first tweet of 2018, President Donald Trump on Monday vented of which Pakistan has already received more than $33 billion in U.S. within the past 15 years as well as “given us nothing although lies & deceit.”

Then, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, announced Tuesday the U.S. will withhold $255 million in assistance to Pakistan. “They work with us at times, as well as they also harbor the terrorist of which attack our troops in Afghanistan,” she said. “of which game can be not acceptable to This kind of administration.”

“We could actually recognize of which Pakistan isn’t a friend although can be an enemy, as well as then calibrate our policies accordingly,” said Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based hawkish think tank.

Roggio suggests Washington impose sanctions on Pakistan as well as unleash travel restrictions on some individuals as a way to get Islamabad to change course. Also, he said the U.S. could formally designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Reuters reported Wednesday of which the administration has been letting members of Congress know the idea plans to cut “security assistance” to Pakistan.

Analysts say calling out Pakistan’s “games” can be long overdue, although the idea still comes with risks.

“the idea will increase the violence in Afghanistan as well as make any U.S. progress in Afghanistan much more complicated as well as expensive,” said Bharath Gopalaswamy, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.

Specifically, Gopalaswamy said the U.S. coalition’s logistics supply to Afghanistan could suffer if Pakistan cuts access. Also, he said, the U.S. may ultimately “push Pakistan more into the Chinese orbit.”

Indeed, Pakistan’s top diplomat This kind of week threatened of which Islamabad might shift policies away through the U.S. as well as establish closer ties with Russia as well as China. In addition, the Pakistan central bank plans to use the Chinese yuan for bilateral trade as well as investment activities with Beijing.

“The administration can be facing a set of questions of which all previous U.S. administrations have faced within the last 18 years,” said Alyssa Ayres, who served within the State Department during the Obama administration as well as today can be a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan think tank based in Washington.

The U.S. has spent well over $800 billion fighting the Afghanistan conflict, as well as there have been more than 2,400 U.S. military fatalities as well as tens of thousands of soldiers wounded.

On Monday, a U.S. Special Forces soldier was killed by enemy fire in an area where the coalition forces have been battling the Taliban as well as an affiliate of the Islamic State. the idea followed at least 15 deaths last year of U.S. service members in Afghanistan.

Ayres said 2011 was one of the worst years of U.S.-Pakistani relations when U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in a raid on his compound in Pakistan. the idea led the Pakistanis to then shut supply routes for the U.S.-led coalition fighting in Afghanistan. However, those routes later got reopened although Ayres said there’s a chance Pakistan could shut them again.

If the supply lines do get cut, defense experts say, the idea could make the Afghanistan war costlier to wage through an economic standpoint. Even so, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan today can be far below the roughly 100,000 forces of which were within the country during the peak in 2011 so presumably any impacts maybe lessened.

There are approximately 14,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan, according to the Pentagon.

A Department of Defense spokesman was asked Wednesday about how critical the Pakistan supply routes are today for the U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan.

“Due to operational security, we won’t be able to provide a specific percentage of U.S. supplies going into Afghanistan through multiple routes,” he said. “While the U.S. favors shipping cargo via Pakistan because of cost, we have built flexibility as well as redundancy into our overall system of air, sea, as well as ground routes to transport cargo into as well as out of Afghanistan.”

Some believe the U.S. military in 2018 will accelerate the use of drone strikes against terrorist networks in tribal regions of Pakistan. This kind of includes the U.S. targeting the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani terror network, which has conducted attacks in Afghanistan as well as has links to al-Qaeda.

There were eight U.S. drone counter-terrorism strikes during 2017 in Pakistan compared with just three in 2016 as well as 117 strikes in 2010, according to figures through the Foundation for Defense of Democracies .

“The Obama administration tried to wind the idea down,” said Roggio. He said the Trump administration was “trying to be judicious” with just eight strikes in 2017, although given the president’s frustration over Pakistan today “I don’t expect the U.S. to pull punches This kind of year.”

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