In the harshest rhetoric yet by the current U.S. administration, Pence said earlier in the day in an address at Afghanistan’s Bagram airbase that President Donald Trump “has put Pakistan on notice” for ‘providing a safe haven to the Taliban and other militant groups’.
“Allies do not put each other on notice,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Muhammad Faisal said in a statement.
Pence’s warning comes days after Trump in his new foreign strategy accused Pakistan of allowing terrorist safe havens on its soil, saying Islamabad must take action against terrorists who attack American forces in war-torn Afghanistan.
Faisal said Pence’s statement “is at variance with the extensive conversations we have had with the U.S administration”.
“On notice should be those factors responsible for an exponential increase in drug production, expansion of ungoverned spaces, industrial scale corruption, breakdown of governance and letting Daesh gain a foothold in Afghanistan,” he said in a thinly veiled reference to the corruption-tainted and weak Kabul government.
“Also, the focus should be on creating peace and reconciliation mechanisms. Finally, externalizing blame should be put on notice,” he added.
Relations between the two allies in the so-called war against terrorism have plummeted to new lows in recent years, mainly due to a clash of interests in war-ravaged Afghanistan.