US may put sanctions on Pak officials with terror links

24 Aug 2017


US President Donald Trump's new, tougher approach to Pakistan could potentially include sanctions on Pakistani government officials with ties to terrorist organizations, according to a Politico report.

The report said that as part of an overall strategy, a senior administration official said on Tuesday morning the US has put Pakistan ''on notice'' that ''business as usual, as it has been up to now, is over''.

Early Tuesday Trump, in a nationally televised address, announced his strategy for Afghanistan, saying the US must continue fighting in the country and that it can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organisations.

He also talked about giving more authority to the troops on the ground. ''We will also expand authority for American armed forces to target the terrorists and criminal networks that sow violence and chaos throughout Afghanistan,'' the US president said.

He added that their mission in Afghanistan will be to eliminate terrorists.

The Polititco report said that after the announcement officials said on a conference call with reporters that it also includes demanding more from the Pakistani government in combating terrorist groups.

''I think the important takeaway for the Pakistani government last night is that, you know, they should understand that they're on notice from this president, from this administration,'' the official said. ''The United States has been really patient with Pakistan for a really long time. We haven't been getting a good deal from them.''

The call was held for administration allies and surrogates, not the media, but some news organisations who learned of the call dialled in, including Politico.

As part of the new strategy, the official said the US could conceivably impose sanctions on terrorist groups including the Haqqani network, which has links to elements in the Pakistani government, as well as on any Pakistani officials ''who are tied to these kinds of groups, you know, in ways that they shouldn't be''.

That Trump's announced strategy was devoid of specifics regarding the exact number of troops set to be deployed in Afghanistan or a timetable for that deployment was by design, multiple officials from the administration said.

Such decisions will be made based on ''conditions on the ground'', Vice President Mike Pence told NBC's ''Today'' show on Tuesday morning.

''In the past, it's always been time based on when we were going to get out, or based on the number of troops or based on all kinds of things. Now it's results based, and that works,'' US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Tuesday morning on CNN's ''New Day.''

''It works when the president speaks up and says this is what we're going to do, we're going to stomp out terrorism and he follows through with it.''

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