BuzzFeed News

Reporting To You

world

Here's A Bunch Of Times The US Has Called On Pakistan To Stop Harboring Terror Suspects

The US president said there would be a new approach to dealing with Pakistan in a speech on Monday evening. "New" is a bit of a strong word.

Posted on August 24, 2017, at 3:09 p.m. ET

On Monday night, President Donald Trump gave a long awaited speech discussing foreign policy, focusing on the future US commitment to Afghanistan.

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

One of his big points was that, moving forward, the US would be holding Pakistan to account.

Notably, Trump called for Pakistan to "change immediately" its tendency to harbor individuals and groups linked to terror.

"No partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target US service members and officials," Trump said. "It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the next day that the US would consider punishing Pakistan should the country not crack down on terror organizations within its borders.

US politicians have, as it turns out, been calling for this for a while. And while Pakistan has proved cooperative at times, the need to press them to do more keeps coming up.

Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

With that in mind, here's an incomplete history of times that the call for Islamabad to do more has gone out:

1. In the aftermath of 9/11, then-president George W. Bush's administration moved to exert pressure on Pakistan's government to expel suspected extremists.

"The President told [Indian Foreign Minister L.K.] Advani that he has urged President Musharraf to take appropriate steps against extremists operating in and from Pakistan," then White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer told reporters in 2002.
Jason Reed / Reuters

"The President told [Indian Foreign Minister L.K.] Advani that he has urged President Musharraf to take appropriate steps against extremists operating in and from Pakistan," then White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer told reporters in 2002.

2. Then in 2006 — during the global hunt for al-Qaeda militants — the White House said that Pakistan had been "very cooperative in helping track down members of al-Qaeda."

But this message of support came after Pakistan's government was forced to deny it was hiding Osama bin Laden and his supporters — they'd recently signed a controversial deal with the insurgents in an effort to calm the tumultuous badlands bordering Afghanistan. (Spoilers: bin Laden was in Pakistan.)
Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

But this message of support came after Pakistan's government was forced to deny it was hiding Osama bin Laden and his supporters — they'd recently signed a controversial deal with the insurgents in an effort to calm the tumultuous badlands bordering Afghanistan.

(Spoilers: bin Laden was in Pakistan.)

3. Following the election of Barack Obama, top US generals and admirals began discussing a "new"* strategy in the region.

Then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, said: "I have pressed hard on my counterparts in Pakistan to do more against extremists and to let us do more to help them."*This part of it really was not new.
John Moore / Getty Images

Then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, said: "I have pressed hard on my counterparts in Pakistan to do more against extremists and to let us do more to help them."

*This part of it really was not new.

4. The following year, Obama announced a *refreshed* Afghanistan/Pakistan policy.

"Pakistan must demonstrate its commitment to rooting out al-Qaeda and the violent extremists within its borders," Obama said. He continued: "And we will insist that action be taken – one way or the other – when we have intelligence about high-level terrorist targets."
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

"Pakistan must demonstrate its commitment to rooting out al-Qaeda and the violent extremists within its borders," Obama said.

He continued: "And we will insist that action be taken – one way or the other – when we have intelligence about high-level terrorist targets."

5. But in 2011 the Obama administration sharply rebuked Pakistan's government over alleged ties with Taliban-linked groups.

Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images

6. Later that year, speaking immediately after American special forces killed Osama bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan, Obama said: "And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates."

The then-president was careful to state that the raid's success had been due in part to cooperation with Pakistani officials, but emphasized that collaboration with the country's security services needed to be maintained.
Pool / Getty Images

The then-president was careful to state that the raid's success had been due in part to cooperation with Pakistani officials, but emphasized that collaboration with the country's security services needed to be maintained.

7. And in 2013, then-defense secretary Chuck Hagel visited Pakistan to talk about "differing views" on fighting terrorism.

Hagel raised the issue of terror groups launching attacks on US forces in Afghanistan but sheltering on Pakistani territory, and the US really wishing Pakistan would not look the other way. “There are some differences there,” a defense official told Stars and Stripes at the time.
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Hagel raised the issue of terror groups launching attacks on US forces in Afghanistan but sheltering on Pakistani territory, and the US really wishing Pakistan would not look the other way. “There are some differences there,” a defense official told Stars and Stripes at the time.

8. "This is something that Pakistan has to deal with on their doorstep,” Obama's press secretary told reporters in 2015, on the subject of countering extremists within their region.

The comments came during a meeting in Washington between the US president and Pakistan's prime minister at the time, Nawaz Sharif.Press secretary Josh Earnest went on to acknowledge that there had been "some peaks and troughs" between the two nations.
Faisal Mahmood / Reuters

The comments came during a meeting in Washington between the US president and Pakistan's prime minister at the time, Nawaz Sharif.

Press secretary Josh Earnest went on to acknowledge that there had been "some peaks and troughs" between the two nations.

9. In 2016, criticism over Pakistan's perceived role in harboring terror suspects only intensified. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Sharif to stop sheltering suspected militants.

Kerry, following a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, gave a speech in which he said: "Terror is terror no matter where it comes from, [or] who carries it out."And Afghan Vice President Sarwar Danesh said at the time that his government had "repeatedly asked our neighboring country Pakistan to destroy the known terrorist safe havens, but we unfortunately are yet to witness any change in the situation.""Terrorist attacks are being planned on Pakistani territory," he said.
Kena Betancur / AFP / Getty Images

Kerry, following a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, gave a speech in which he said: "Terror is terror no matter where it comes from, [or] who carries it out."

And Afghan Vice President Sarwar Danesh said at the time that his government had "repeatedly asked our neighboring country Pakistan to destroy the known terrorist safe havens, but we unfortunately are yet to witness any change in the situation."

"Terrorist attacks are being planned on Pakistani territory," he said.

10. Richard Olson, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said American officials had "been very clear with the most senior Pakistani leadership that Pakistan must target all militant groups without discrimination, including those that target Pakistan's neighbors, and close all safe havens."

Olson, speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, conceded that although Pakistan had made progress, its government was yet to make "a decisive shift in its policy of tolerance toward externally focused groups."So. That would be a lack of progress then.
Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

Olson, speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, conceded that although Pakistan had made progress, its government was yet to make "a decisive shift in its policy of tolerance toward externally focused groups."

So. That would be a lack of progress then.

11. Shortly after Olson's statement, a bill in Congress was put forward that called on Pakistan to be designated an enemy state, because — wait for it — it was still harboring militants.

The bill was put forward by two Republicans (Ted Poe and Dana Rohrabacher).

12. And finally, at the beginning of 2017, shortly after Trump assumed office, Obama's spokesperson characterized the relationship between Pakistan and the US as "extraordinarily complicated."

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Support our journalism

Help BuzzFeed News reporters expose injustices and keep quality news free.

Contribute
ADVERTISEMENT