The US State Department had announced that it would withhold up to $2 billion in U.S. aid until the country takes “decisive action” against the Taliban and an aggressive offshoot of the group, the Haqqani network. This includes almost $1 billion of US military equipment that has allowed Pakistan access to advanced military technology, as well as funding that is meant to pay Pakistan for helping get US and NATO material into Afghanistan.

The upcoming months will tell whether this is a temporary stumble in the long-standing allyship of Pakistan and US, or whether these are signs of a divorce. The unconventional manner of the US regime has led to regarding the newfound aggression of the US as just another side effect of its erratic president; and some analysts seem to think this is just a step of the US to hit home the message to hand over terrorists of the Haqqani network and that the US does not really mean to cut funding. Certainly, it seems unlikely that the funding meant to pay Pakistan for helping get US and NATO material will be cut. Moreover, the US has repeatedly stated that it will not cut civilian funding, and that Pakistan could ‘earn’ all the funds back if it complies, indicating that the door to cooperation is still open.

However, hesitation from the US does not give us the license to take an overly aggressive attitude, as Khawaja Asif did, in declaring we were no longer allies. A more sensible response was that of the DG ISPR, who was firm, but open to cooperation. There is still massive damage that can and has occurred to Pakistan, because of US’s badmouthing. Further clashes could lead to Pakistan losing its status as a non-member NATO ally. Worse, US targeting Pakistan causes irreparable damage to our international reputation. Already, fearmongering of Pakistan has begun, with Tillerson stating that he will add Pakistani Muslims to the Special Watch List, and US politicians like Rand Paul have cashed in the hate, drafting bills for further cuts.

The decision on how to proceed needs to be made carefully, considering the volatility of the current US administration, we might soon be at the point of no return. Either we must find a way to reach a consensus with the US, or be prepared to look elsewhere for military and economic support.