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Pakistan would chose Haqqani, Taliban over US: Experts

By Vicky

The aid cut to Pakistan is the talk of the town and it is being debated how much of an effect the move by US President Donald Trump would have. Can Pakistan survive the aid cut or will it give up its loyalties towards the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network?

Pakistan would chose Haqqani, Taliban over US: Experts

OneIndia spoke with two experts from the US on the latest move by Trump. Find out what they had to say.

Michael Kugelman, Senior Associate for South and Southeast Asia

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC says, "Here's the bad news: A US aid cut off will do little to change Pakistan's links to the terrorists that threaten Americans in Afghanistan--or, for that matter, the terrorists that threaten Indians. Pakistan believes it has a very strong interest in maintaining ties to the likes of the Haqqani network and Afghan Taliban because they push back against India's influence in Afghanistan."

Kugelman adds, for Pakistan, the interests that compel it to maintain ties to these militants are practically immutable. Pressure from the US, including aid cuts, won't change that equation.

US suspends security assistance to Pakistan, forces action on Islamists

Another reason why Pakistan won't change its behavior after this aid cut is that Pakistan can easily survive an aid cut. It's faced aid cuts before and survived, and it will now too. It can simply turn to its close allies Saudi Arabia and China, Kugelman further states.

Stephen Tankel, assistant professor at the School of International Service at American University says that Trump's move may not exactly serve the purpose.

"What Pakistan stands to lose, in terms of security assistance, pales in comparison, to what the [Pakistani] security establishment thinks it would lose by turning on the Taliban and the Haqqani Network, which it perceives as instrumental to accomplishing its objectives in Afghanistan. So no, this will not be enough to convince Pakistan to turn on them. It's been planning for the day when US assistance ends, and I suspect it will muddle through," Tankel says.

OneIndia News

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