The US is not at the moment planning to resume its security assistance to Pakistan absent concrete efforts to crack down on the Taliban and Haqqani network, a senior administration official said on Friday.
“We will consider changing that suspension on certain items if Pakistan meets our security concerns both in Afghanistan and with regard to some of the externally focused groups,” the official said. “As of now there is no change.”
But the invitation for Khan to meet with Trump at the White House is intended to show Pakistan that the “door is open to repairing relations and building an enduring relationship,” the official said. The meeting comes as US officials and Taliban leaders continue to hold multiple rounds of talks in Qatar aimed at ending the nearly 18-year US war in Afghanistan. The US has pressed Pakistan to use its leverage over the Taliban to encourage the militant group to reach a peace deal with the US.
Khan, a former cricketer who came into power in the summer of 2018, has made anti-corruption a signature issue. An administration official said the US sees some positive initial steps in seizing militant assets, but the US is hoping for more concrete steps going forward.
“Khan is saying the right things, but what we really need to see to prove that this is something different are actual arrests and convictions as well as evictions of those Taliban and Haqqani leaders who don’t support peace,” an official said.
Senior administration officials told reporters on Friday that Trump would also raise the imprisonment of Dr. Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani physician who helped the US capture Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Afridi, who helped the CIA run a fake hepatitis vaccine program that helped locate bin Laden, was captured in the days following the raid. Pakistan has resisted US calls for his release.
“They will be judged by how he is treated,” an official said.
Pakistan’s increasingly close relationship with China is also expected to be on the agenda when Trump and Khan meet Monday. Since taking office, Khan has already visited Beijing twice and China has made deep investments in Pakistan.
US officials said the US would “ensure that Pakistan understands this lending should be transparent and they should make sure they’re not getting over-indebted to China.” That includes warnings about allowing Chinese telecom giant Huawei — which the US deems a security risk — to develop a 5G network there.
Trump will meet with Khan in the Oval Office on Monday followed by a lunch meeting in the Cabinet Room, according to the White House.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, acting Defense Secretary Richard Spencer, deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman, Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, senior adviser Jared Kushner, and press secretary Stephanie Grisham are all expected to attend.