Pakistan Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif said on Wednesday that the country would survive without military aid from the United States, The Nation reported. “The United States should not blame Pakistan for its own failures,” Asif told the Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. “Pakistan will never compromise on its national interests and can live without aid.”
Speaking to Geo News outside Parliament, the foreign minister said that Islamabad did not want its relationship with the United States to deteriorate, but added that Pakistan also did not want to “compromise its national sovereignty”.
The Pakistan Army had said on January 12 that it would continue its efforts to fight terrorism without seeking the resumption of the military aid. General Qamar Javed Bajwa, reportedly told a top US military general in telephone calls that Islamabad felt betrayed by Washington’s assertion that Pakistan had not done enough in the “war on terror”.
The administration of US President Donald Trump on January 4 suspended annual security assistance worth $1.3 billion (Rs 8,238 crore) to Pakistani military and demanded “decisive action” against Taliban factions based in the country.
Can’t maintain Army, says Afghanistan
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, meanwhile, said that the Afghan National Army and the government will collapse in six months without the support of the United States. Ghani made the remarks in an interview to the CBS 60 Minutes news programme that was aired on January 14.
The president said that his government would not have the money to maintain the army if the US pulled its support. American taxpayers every year pay more than $4 billion (Rs 25,543 crore) or 90% of Afghanistan’s defence budget, CBS reported. It has spent another $30 billion (Rs 1.91 lakh crore) to rebuild the country.
The Afghan president said that the country was under siege from the Taliban, which had succeeded in sowing doubts in the mind of the people about the government by terrorising them. “The result: angry protestors in the capital chanting ‘death to Ashraf Ghani’.”
Ghani said that it was difficult to stop the terror groups in the country that he claimed were running “factories producing suicide bombers”. The only alternative, he said, was resolve.