The Morning Brief: Trump's Afghanistan Plan, Missing Sailors and Total Solar Eclipse

Frederick Owens
August 24, 2017

"So we appreciate that, we're grateful to that, and we look forward to India continuing to play a role in what we believe is an eventual - what we hope is an eventual peace process in Afghanistan", Nauert said.

He said the Taliban and other organisations inside of Pakistan seem to be growing their numbers and their presence to the point that at some point they would become a real threat to the stability of the Pakistani government itself.

Trump's remarks provoked hurt and outrage among many.

As the USA has increased the heat, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi accompanied by Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar flew to Saudi Arabia on a day-long visit.

Officials said the two sides reviewed the whole spectrum of bilateral relations. In the course of highlighting his administration's revamped Afghanistan strategy, Trump also threatened to cut off the "billions and billions of dollars" the United States has given Pakistan to fight terror over the years.

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Foreign minister Wang Yi met Pakistani foreign secretary Tehmina Janjua in Beijing on Tuesday, according to a statement on Thursday. "They agreed on the need to hold various bilateral consultative mechanisms including the strategic dialogue at an early date".

As he laid out his broader strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia, the president gave no timetables and announced no troop numbers, instead signaling "a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions".

The German government is welcoming "the United States' readiness to continue its long-term commitment in Afghanistan".

Pakistan has, moreover, in the past year turned a blind eye to Saudi funding of anti-Shia, anti-Iranian militants in Baluchistan, including Pakistani cleric Maulana Ali Muhammad Abu Turab, who remains a member of the Council of Islamic Ideology - a government advisory body tasked with ensuring that legislation does not contradict Islamic law - despite having been designated a global terrorist by the US Treasury. Similarly, Russia, long eager to gain access to warm water ports and expand its influence in Central and South Asia, is certain to see opportunity in further estrangement between Pakistan and the US. "We haven't been getting a good deal from them", a White House official said. "We are basically not seeking their (Russia) help against the U.S. but (are) trying to transform the warmth in ties into friendship".

Another official said the ministry was preparing a strong case for Pakistan which the foreign minister will carry to Washington.

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