>> President Donald Trump's administration appears ready to take a tougher line on Pakistan over militants based in that country launching attacks in Afghanistan. US officials telling Reuters the administration is considering expanding US drone strikes in Pakistan, withholding aid, and possibly downgrading Islamabad's status as a major non-NATO ally.
Reuters Foreign Policy Editor Yara Bayoumy.>> For years, the US has had a lot of concerns about Pakistan, especially because of Pakistan-based militants, who reside in Pakistani territory. And who then carry out attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, where of course the US has been involved in a very, very long running war there.
But at the same time, the US cannot ignore that they do need Pakistan in large parts to again, to fight the war in Afghanistan as well. So it's always been a very double edged sword with Pakistan and successive US administrations have tried and failed to find the right approach to Pakistan.
>> A massive truck bomb blast in the Afghan capital of Kabul last month killed more than 80 people, and Afghanistan said the militants behind the attack were based in Pakistan. Islamabad denies aiding Islamic militants, pointing out that it, too, has suffered terror attacks. More than 22,000 of its civilians and 7,000 of its soldiers have been killed since 2003.
The US has yet to decide what action to take toward Pakistan, but the potential shift comes as the Pentagon is wrapping up a regional review of its Afghanistan strategy. Which could mean the deployment of thousands more American soldiers to battle the Taliban. The White House and the Pentagon declined to comment.
US officials telling Reuters they seek greater cooperation with Islamabad, not a rupture in ties. Other American officials say that at the end of the day, Washington needs a partner, however an imperfect one, in nuclear armed Pakistan.