Pakistan in talks with USA over security assistance: FO

Last week, in a meeting chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in capital Islamabad, it was decided that the validity of the Afghan refugees' residency documents, called Proof of Registration cards, would only be extended for 30 days - after which they would have to return to their home country.

The US on Wednesday expressed hope that Pakistan would "come to the table" and demonstrate willingness to "aggressively" confront terrorist groups that operate from its territory, amid reports that Islamabad has suspended its military and intelligence cooperation with America.

Pakistan's decision to suspend military and intelligence cooperation with America came after President Donald Trump accused Islamabad of giving nothing to the U.S. but "lies and deceit" and suspended about United States dollars 2 billion in security aid to it, Pakistani media quoted Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan as saying.

At a seminar titled "Contours of Security Environment of Pakistan", he reportedly said that despite the USA spending billions of dollars, it was facing defeat in Afghanistan and was using Pakistan as a scapegoat for its failures.

Defense experts think the USA allegations and halt to military aid have forced the Pakistani government to use its leverage as it has this option, in view of the growing US pressure and its use of the blame game.

Responding to a question, the Foreign Office Spokesperson said that both Pakistan and the United States continue to communication with each other on various issues of mutual interests at different levels.He pointed out that Pakistan has been facilitating the U.S. led mission in Afghanistan through air and ground lines of communication for the last sixteen years.

The foreign minister of Pakistan Khwajah Mohammad Asif has claimed that the intelligence nexus between Afghanistan and India is contributing to regional instability.

The briefing comes as the U.S. in recent days stepped up efforts to put pressure on Pakistan to do more to combat terrorism.

They were also briefed about the terrorist threat emanating from the safe havens and sanctuaries in Afghanistan, which is resulting in loss of human lives and damage to infrastructure in Pakistan.

"We shall not stop in our endeavors to root out terrorism, no matter what the cost", said Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in a recent statement. "Pakistan has greater leverage over us than many imagine", he wrote.

Pakistan says the United States is scapegoating it for US failures in Afghanistan.

"The United States has tuned Afghanistan into another Vietnam as it needs a scapegoat".

The Pentagon confirmed that up to $900 million of reimbursement from the Coalition Support Funds had also been stopped and future aid would remain suspended unless Pakistan ensured that "Taliban and Haqqani leadership and attack planners should no longer be able to find safe haven or conduct operations from Pakistani soil".

Pakistani leaders had shown restraint but the Defence Minister's statement could be seen as an indication of growing tension, Xinhua news agency reported.

The development comes amid rising U.S.

Vanessa Coleman

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