"This was expected, and Pakistan was preparing for that," the analyst told Radio Sputnik, referring to the State Department's announcement earlier this week that Washington would no longer transfer certain military equipment and security-related financial assistance to the Pakistani armed forces.
With that in mind, Yusufzai said that the aid cuts do not mean a complete US break with the South Asian country. "I don't think they will fully cut off the assistance, because they still want to work with Pakistan. They need Pakistan. Supply lines to Afghanistan pass through Pakistan. There are 20,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan. They need all kinds of supplies, and they use the Pakistani land route, and also the air route [to deliver them]."
"So I expect there will be more talks. There may not be any breakthrough, but I think that the relationship will not be completely broken down," the observer noted.
Last week, President Trump published several tweets criticizing US aid policy to Pakistan, vowing to break with the policy of the past two administrations of pumping tens of billions of dollars in aid into the country for little tangible return.
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1 января 2018 г.
Yusufzai argued that Trump's policy of making policy decisions via "very strong words" on Twitter was one of the causes of the current problems in relations between the two countries, and "one of the reasons why Pakistan is so angry and defiant."
At the same time, Yusufzai recalled that so far, Pakistani officials have dismissed the significance of the estimated $900 million in aid that's at stake. "If you listen to the Pakistani officials, they say that it won't mean much. The Pakistani minister of finance said that the American assistance is only one day's expenses for Pakistan. They are saying that they are not very dependent on the US."
"That is the way it has been portrayed, but I think there will be some effect, [even if] not much. Because Pakistan is carrying out military operations in the tribal areas, along the border, and helping the US fight terrorism. That will slow down, and that will mean I think more problems for both countries – for Pakistan and also for the US in Afghanistan. So it's going to have some effect in the short term, and we don't know how long this will continue, so we have to really guess what is going to happen in the long term."
Furthermore, one of the explanations Islamabad has been able to fall back on is the 2.7 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan for nearly four decades now, and among whom terror groups such as al-Qaeda and Haqqani can easily hide and operate. The effort to repatriate these refugees has to be an international one, according to Yusufzai.
"Pakistan is under pressure, not only from the US but also from the Afghan government and India. So there are problems for Pakistan, and it has to put its own house in order. But I think to be frank, Pakistan cannot help the US to win the war in Afghanistan. That has to be done by the Afghan government, the Americans and the NATO forces," Yusufzai concluded.
The views and opinions expressed by Rahimullah Yusufzai are those of the observer and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.