Pakistan could lose non-Nato ally status, warns US

Islamabad, Aug 24, IRNA – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned Pakistan that it could lose status of non-Nato ally if it continues giving safe haven to terrorists, including Afghan militant groups.

'There's been an erosion in trust because we have witnessed terrorist organizations being given safe haven inside of Pakistan to plan and carry out attacks against US servicemen, US officials, disrupting peace efforts inside of Afghanistan,' Tillerson told reporters at the State Department in Washington.

President Donald Trump had also warned that Pakistan's alleged support for the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani extremist network would have consequences.

'We have some leverage in terms of aid, their status as a non-NATO alliance partner -- all of that can be put on the table,' Tillerson said.

Pakistan, badly unhappy with the new US strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia, is one of 16 countries to currently enjoy 'major non-NATO ally' status, which allows close military cooperation. Pakistan became a non-NATO ally of the US in 2004.

This year, the US has already withheld $350 million in military funding over concerns Pakistan is not doing enough to fight terror, but the alliance itself was not in question.

Tillerson said Washington wants to work with Pakistan as it expands its own support for Kabul in the battle against the Taliban, but warned it to close alleged militant safe havens.

Relations between the United States and Pakistan have been rocky in recent years amid US operations along the Afghan-Pakistani border.