Pakistan’s Imran Khan arrives in US ahead of high-stakes talks with Donald Trump

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit the United States today on the first day of a five-day trip.  Prime

imran khan united states

Photo: Sarah Caron

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit the United States today on the first day of a five-day trip.  Prime Minister Khan is scheduled to hold talks with President Donald Trump during the trip, marking the first meeting ever between the two leaders.

The relationship between the US and Pakistan has been put under increasing strain since the Trump administration assumed power in 2017. In September of 2018, the White House accused Pakistan of complicit support of extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan and cut funding and military aid by $1.3 billion.

More recently, on July 17th, Pakistani authorities arrested Hafiz Saeed, founder of extremist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. While Trump applauded the arrest, analysts believe that Prime Minister Khan strategically timed Saeed’s arrest to come before Khan’s trip to the US. Indeed, Pakistan has a record of arresting those accused of terrorism at strategic intervals, before releasing them again – Mr Saeed has been arrested and released six times prior to this recent arrest.

In the coming days, President Trump is expected to discuss the US’s plan to exit Afghanistan. The Trump administration expects Pakistan to assume responsibility on mitigating extremism and cease providing funding and safe havens to Taliban members.

Analysts believe that a new funding package will be presented to Pakistan on the condition that Pakistan successfully comply with anti-terrorist measures and US-Taliban negotiations.

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