US President Donald Trump has authorized the reinstatement of a military training and educational program in Pakistan more than a year after suspending it, according to the US Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs late Friday evening.
The move indicates a thawing in relations between Washington and Islamabad following a meeting between Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan last year. The decision also comes as Pakistan plays an essential role in the Afghan peace process.
"It is the first step towards a wider and deeper engagement between the two countries," Talat Masood, a retired general, said to German news agency DPA.
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In January 2018, the Trump administration canceled nearly all security assistance to Pakistan after the US president accused Pakistan of not doing enough to counter the actions of terrorist groups.
In August that same year, the US also suspended the military training program.
The US International Military Education and Training (IMET) program's aim is to build military-to-military cooperation and advance the goals of US national security, US acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells said in the tweet.
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The suspension of the overall security assistance program, however, remains in effect, Wells added.
The announcement comes in the wake of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's call to Pakistan's army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, after the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. In the call Pakistan encouraged all parties to exercise "maximum restraint, engage constructively to de-escalate the situation, and resolve issues through diplomatic means, in accordance with UN Charter and international law.”
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