Recently, President Trump announced an expansion of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, including a troop surge and a worrying "change to the approach in how to deal with Pakistan."

During the course of this speech, the president claimed that Pakistan "often gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror." He further stated that the U.S. has been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting," and concluded with an implied threat: "Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists."

As proud Pakistani-Americans, and loyal U.S. citizens, the members of APPAC would like to respond to these remarks. In particular, we note the following important facts:

*Pakistan is not a safe haven for terrorists. On the contrary, its Army, police and other law enforcement agencies have killed 33,711 insurgents/terrorists since 2003.

*Pakistanis suffer and die for this cause, every day. Since 2003, almost 80,000 men, women, and children have been murdered by terrorists. Their lives are as dear to their loved ones as the 2,996 American lives lost in the 9/11 attacks.

*The United States does not "pay" Pakistan. Pakistan has spent $200 billion fighting terrorism in the last 16 years. During those years, U.S. aid to Pakistan totaled less than $30 billion; and since 2011, U.S. security aid to Pakistan has declined by 73%, and economic aid by 53%, according to the Congressional Research Service.

In short, Pakistan is not an enemy in the way on terror; it is a committed and important ally to the United States.

It is also a land of simple and struggling people whose suffering remains untold. Day after day, Pakistanis awake to the news that terrorists have killed more people who were shopping in the bazaars, strolling in a park, studying, worshipping, or celebrating a wedding. The people of Pakistan have cried so long and so bitterly that even their tears have run dry.

Like every country, Pakistan has room to improve. But it is a true ally to the United States, and our heartfelt hope is that these two countries remain firmly united in the goal of eliminating terrorism.

The American Pakistani Public Affairs Committee

Via E-mail

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