US President Donald Trump’s crude speech in which he committed the United States into an open war with insurgents in Afghanistan and lambasted Pakistan for ‘harbouring militant safe heavens’ has emerged as the first diplomatic challenge for the nascent government of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Trump, in his hard-hitting speech at a military base in Washington, called on Pakistan’s arch-rival India to aid the US in its longest war in Afghanistan, and said his administration would assist New Delhi in building infrastructure of the war-torn country.

Analysts say Trump’s open invitation to the Modi regime is aimed at tackling China’s growing influence in Afghanistan. But a Washington-New Delhi cooperation, which is no longer behind closed doors, means Islamabad has to act cautiously. Sticking to the rhetoric that Pakistan has lost so much in the so-called war on terror won’t convince Trump to scrap his Afghan policy .

Pakistan need not to remind the international community what its contributions are to global peace and security. Thousands of its troops are deployed as part of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in various parts of the world. The Trump administration may have pioneered an aggressive policy that is aimed at beating the insurgents to the table but it was Islamabad that helped install the Afghan National Government and brokered the peace talks between the Taliban and Kabul.

It’s about time the United States realised that long wars always result in endless bloodshed. Adding more troops to the already deployed 8,400 in Afghanistan, a country bathed in blood of both foreigners and locals, only adds fuel to the fire. Trump has vowed “victory in Afghanistan”. His version of victory, however, is a fight to the death. Homecoming seems a long lost dream for the US troops fighting against the Taliban and other insurgents, who vowed they would “continue our jihad”.

Pakistan should cash in on its ‘diplomatic aggression’ card; by blocking its roads to US for supplies to NATO troops in the landlocked Afghanistan, giving Washington a taste of its own medicine. Pakistan is no foe of the United States but by constantly blaming the former for its own failures in Afghanistan, Washington is slowly severing its ties with Islamabad; a mistake which would lead to disastrous consequences.