Moscow Does Not Have Great Influence On Islamabad: White House Official

WASHINGTON:  Amid increased bonhomie between Russia and Pakistan, the White House believes that Moscow does not have a great influence on Islamabad, a senior Trump Administration official has said.

“I don’t particularly believe that there is a great deal of influence that Russia is asserting (over Pakistan) even though I do acknowledge they have a better relationship than they had five years ago,” a senior administration official has said.

The official was responding to questions on the recent increase in relationship between Russia and Pakistan and how much influence it has over Islamabad.

“But Russia as of now does not have a great deal of influence over Pakistan, with which its ties is relatively new,” the official said who on condition of anonymity.

“I think the Russia-Pakistan relationship is still something relatively new,” the senior administration official said noting that Pakistan, being an independent country is making its own assessment and doing what it considers is in its own interests.

However, the official said that the Russian thinking that the Taliban can help fight ISIS is a flawed approach.

Most US soldiers who perished last year were in operations against ISIS in Afghanistan.

“So we take threat (from ISIS) very seriously. That brings me to Russia. Yes, we see Russia and Pakistan having better relations and they have had in the past. We also see Russia asserting unhelpful propaganda trying to say we created ISIS and support ISIS,” the official said.

“ISIS is a threat to Pakistan. And we see Pakistan seeking to deal with the ISI threat. This is an area where we would like to cooperate with Pakistan,” the official added.

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