The US and its allies in Afghanistan plan to “try one more time” to work with Pakistan to end its support for terrorists and plan to present it with a list of what it must do to “change its behaviour”, warning that noncompliance could include revoking its status as a non-Nato ally. In separate testimonies to two congressional panels , America’s top military leaders sought to single out the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) — the Pakistani intelligence agency — for its links to terror groups. The US has been growing increasingly annoyed with Pakistan over its bad record on counter-terrorism and its sheltering of terror outfits as a tool of its foreign policy. Lawmakers and officials have tried everything from name-calling — “duplicitous” and “frenemy” — to tying up aid to its fight against terrorism.
“It is clear to me that the ISI has connections with terrorist groups,” Gen Joesph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said. Mattis sought to differentiate between Pakistan’s government, which he said wanted to come down on terrorism, and the ISI, which he said “appears to be running its own foreign policy”. But the military leaders indicated they were willing to give Pakistan one more try.
“We need to try one more time to make this strategy work with them — by, with, and through the Pakistanis, and if our best efforts fail, President Donald Trump is prepared to take whatever steps are necessary,” Mattis said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on US strategy on South Asia.