U.S. suspends at least $900 million in security aid to Pakistan
05 January, 2018, 13:40 | Author: Irene Delgado
Nauert said that despite sustained high-level engagement with Pakistan's government, "the Taliban and Haqqani network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan as they plot to destabilize Afghanistan and attack US and allied personnel".
The Trump administration could be endangering the lives of US troops in the Middle East with its decision to cut almost all American security aid to Pakistan, experts say.
The United States said on Thursday it was suspending an undisclosed amount of security assistance to Pakistan, which two officials said was worth more than $255 million, until Islamabad takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.
The dramatic freeze in deliveries of military equipment and security funding comes after US PresidentDonald Trump lambasted Pakistan for its alleged support for militant safe havens, including in a furious new year tweet.
Having an Afghan neighbor as an ally in the global war on terrorism was key to the US ousting the terror groups that had set up training camps in Afghanistan, and Pakistan quickly became the third-largest recipient of United States military and economic support.
"Pakistan could be within their rights if they tell us you don't have flyover rights anymore", she said.
This is not the first time the US has cut assistance to Pakistan.
Since 2002, Pakistan has received over $13 billion in Coalition Support Funds (CSF) from the US.
"Arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements and shifting goalposts are counterproductive in addressing common threats", the Pakistani foreign ministry said in a statement.
Under his new policy for Afghanistan, Trump has been putting increased pressure on Pakistan to root out safe havens for terror groups near its border with Afghanistan.
U.S. suspends at least $900 million in security aid to Pakistan
But despite the provocations, the U.S. does not want to completely rupture its relationship with Pakistan, where anti-American sentiment already runs high. The country received more than $1 billion in USA assistance in 2016.
U.S. officials told reporters that the suspension did not affect civilian aid to Pakistan and that the money could go through if Islamabad took decisive action against the militant groups.
"The senior (Taliban) leadership still resides in Pakistan", said Gen. John Nicholson, the top USA commander in Afghanistan. Gen. Asif Ghafoor told a Pakistani news channel on Wednesday that Pakistan would continue to cooperate with the USA but would not "compromise on national interests and prestige".
During an interaction with Pentagon reporters, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis did not respond to question if he was in favour of cutting off the aid to Pakistan.
"The Trump administration decision has abundantly vindicated India's stand as far as terror is concerned and as far as the role of Pakistan is concerned in perpetrating terrorism", according to minister of state in Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh, NDTV reported on January 2, 2018.
Also Thursday, the State Department accusedPakistan of severe violations of religious freedom.
In August, he was more forthright and warned that Pakistan "has much to lose" if ig persisted in aiding terrorists.
Pakistan, which serves as a key transport route for supplies to USA forces in Afghanistan, denies harboring terrorists.
There were several indications that the suspension of aid to Pakistan was in the works. Officials say the country has made enormous sacrifices to support the USA war on terror.
Pakistan has long rejected accusations that it fails to tackle the militants battling the Kabul government and USA -led foreign forces in Afghanistan, from sanctuaries on its side of the border.
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