The Taliban and its affiliate the Haqqani Network, two terrorist groups fighting American troops and their allies in Afghanistan, have established bases in neighboring Pakistan with the knowledge of Islamabad, suggested U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in an interview with MSNBC.
“There’s a tremendously successful campaign going on with Afghan forces in the lead. It’s an unreported campaign in Nangarhar province. … The president has said that, ‘he does not want to place restrictions on the military that undermine our ability to win battles in combat.’ He has lifted those restrictions, and you’re beginning to see the payoff of that as well,” McMaster said.
Eastern Nangarhar province, located along the Pakistani border, is known as the Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL) primary stronghold in Afghanistan.
“The president has also made clear that we need to see a change in behavior of those in the region, which includes those who are providing safe haven and support bases for the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and others,” he added. “This is Pakistan in particular that we want to really see a change in and reduction of their support for these groups.”
McMaster noted that Islamabad “selectively” combats terrorist groups in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, considered by the U.S. military to be home to the largest concentration of jihadist organizations in the world
For years, Pentagon and Afghan officials have accused Pakistan of willingly serving as a sanctuary for the Taliban and its affiliates, including the Haqqani Network, which the American military considers to be the principal threat facing the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan.
The majority of U.S. and Afghan casualties, both civilian and security forces, have taken place in and around provinces that border Pakistan.
Islamabad is believed to fuel the impunity enjoyed by jihadists who carry out terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and then flee across the border into Pakistan, facing no repercussions.
Towards the end of his administration, former President Barack Obama signed legislation into law to prevent the remaining $350 million of the $900 million in military reimbursement for fiscal year 2016 from reaching Pakistan.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2016 mandates that the U.S. withhold reimbursement funds to Pakistan for refusing to take adequate action against the Haqqani Network.
President Donald Trump has decided to continue withholding funds from Pakistan for its failure to act against the Taliban and the Haqqani Network.
The Trump administration has frozen about $50 million in funding for Pakistan.
Reuters explained, “The decision was not the first time that the Pentagon has declined to make military reimbursements to Pakistan. Last year, it withheld $300 million. Pakistan has been reimbursed $550 million of the $900 million it was authorized to receive in fiscal year 2016.”
“Of the rest, $300 million had already been reprogrammed for other purposes, but had not been previously reported. [U.S. Defense Secretary Jim] Mattis’ latest decision affects the remaining $50 million,” it adds.
Breitbart News has learned that President Trump has been displeased with the Afghanistan war strategies that McMaster and the Pentagon have presented to him so far.
The president has demanded a plan that marks a departure from the failed strategies employed by his predecessors.
Trump administration officials are starting have been forced to start from scratch, according to the White House.