Talks seek ‘common ground’
Officials work to patch things up after Twitter rebukes, aid suspension
MUMBAI, India — In the weeks since the Trump administration withheld nearly $1 billion in security aid for Pakistan, Washington and Islamabad officials have been working to patch things up and avert a dangerous deterioration in their often troubled relationship.
Several U.S. officials have met with senior Pakistani civilian and military leaders to find what one called “common ground” after President Donald Trump rebuked Pakistan in a series of Twitter posts and then said the U.S. would no longer provide aid to Islamabad.
Trump accused Pakistan of doing nothing to assist in the U.S.-led war effort in neighboring Afghanistan and of not cracking down on militants that attack U.S. and Afghan forces across the border.
Some U.S. and Afghan officials expressed concern that Pakistan would retaliate by no longer sharing intelligence or by raising the costs for U.S.-led NATO forces to use Pakistani air and land corridors into Afghanistan.
U.S. and Pakistani officials say neither has happened, and in conversations over the past week the two sides have tried to move past Trump’s statements.
The Pakistani army said in a prepared statement Friday that the head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Votel, said in a telephone conversation with Pakistan’s chief of army staff that the “ongoing turbulence” in the countries’ relationship was “a temporary phase.”
Votel also told Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa that the U.S. was seeking its cooperation to capture militants based on Pakistani soil who carry out attacks in Afghanistan, the Pakistani statement said.