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Pakistan, US must work together to defeat terrorism, says Aizaz

Pakistan, US must work together to defeat terrorism, says Aizaz

Pakistan's army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa spoke with US Central Command General Joseph Votel on the phone and said he feels "betrayed" after recent actions by the US to cut military aid.

For his part Bajwa told Votel that the "entire Pakistani nation felt betrayed" over the USA statements, but insisted Pakistan would continue to support peace efforts in the region despite being made a "scapegoat".

This gave rise to a growing choir of voices in Pakistan who are urging the government to suspend the US' transit rights through their territory en route to Afghanistan, effectively dealing a major blow to Trump's mini-surge there, while others have said that Islamabad should massively raise its transit fees instead in order to recoup its losses.

Trump accused Pakistan of doing nothing to assist in the US -led war effort in neighboring Afghanistan and of failing to crack down on militants that attack USA and Afghan forces across the border.

Votel also told Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa that the USA was "not contemplating any unilateral action inside Pakistan", but seeking its cooperation to capture militants based on Pakistani soil who carry out attacks in Afghanistan, the Pakistani statement said.

The US aid suspension was announced days after Trump tweeted on January 1 that the United States had foolishly given Pakistan $33 billion in aid over 15 years and was rewarded with "nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools".

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Trump has been less charitable towards Pakistan.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Pakistan has assisted the USA in its fight in the war on terrorism, providing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with supply routes into landlocked Afghanistan after the U.S. invasion, Bloomberg reports.

The US military's Central Command did not comment on the content of their conversation. Bajwa assured Votel that Pakistan would continue to follow through with its counter-terrorism plans without United States financial support, according to AP.

Spokesman Colonel John Thomas said Centcom is in "continuous communication" with the Pakistan military, including recurring conversations between Votel and Bajwa.

In 2016, a United States drone killed the then-leader of the Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, in the southwestern province of Baluchistan, prompting protests from Islamabad of a violation of sovereignty. Also in question is nearly $1 billion of US military equipment that has allowed Pakistan access to advanced military technology. So far, Pakistan has not done so.

Pakistan was initially fearful that Trump would launch a strike in Pakistan - similar to the secret 2011 raid that captured Osama bin Laden outside Islamabad - and put its forces on alert the day the aid suspension was announced.