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Pakistan and U.S. Restrict Diplomats’ Travel, Adding New Strain on Ties

May 11, 2018

Security concerns have constrained some travel by American diplomats in Pakistan, but the new limits make it impossible for diplomats to leave some of the country’s major cities.

In January, the Trump administration announced that it had suspended nearly all of the $1.3 billion in annual security aid given to Pakistan, an announcement that came just three days after President Trump complained on Twitter that Pakistan had “given us nothing but lies & deceit” and accused it of providing “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.”

The Trump administration has also sought to strengthen ties with India, Pakistan’s bitter rival.

Pakistan and U.S. Restrict Diplomats’ Travel, Adding New Strain on TiesPakistan and U.S. Restrict Diplomats’ Travel, Adding New Strain on Ties

Shuja Nawaz of the Atlantic Council, a research group based in Washington, said the reciprocal travel restrictions signaled “a further slide in this fraught relationship.”

Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States who now serves as a fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington-based research group, said in an interview that Pakistan had long treated American diplomats with intense suspicion, assuming that most were spies “because Pakistan’s own spy agency is so ubiquitous.”

Last month, an American military attaché was barred from leaving Pakistan after his vehicle struck a motorcycle and killed one of its riders in Islamabad, an accident that has received wide attention in Pakistan.

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