US Cancels $300 Million Aid To Pakistan For inaction Against Terror Groups

THE Trump Administration has finally cancelled USD 300 million in aid to Pakistan that remained suspended over Islamabad’s perceived failure to take decisive action against militants. A visibly POTUS Donald John Trump has accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with ‘nothing but lies and deceit. The Trump administration says Islamabad is granting safe haven to insurgents who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighbouring Afghanistan.  The charge is promptly denied by Islamabad. Pentagon spokesman Lt Col Koné Faulkner said the US military would aim to spend the money on other “urgent priorities”. The move, which needs to be approved by US Congress, is part of a broader suspension announced in January. The US state department has criticised Pakistan, a key ally, for failing to deal with terrorist networks operating on its soil, including the Haqqani network and the Afghan Taliban.”We continue to press Pakistan to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups,” Col Faulkner said in a statement on Saturday, adding that the $300m aid – which had earlier been suspended – should be used elsewhere due to “a lack of Pakistani decisive actions” in tackling the issue.US officials said that Pakistan could win back that support if it mended  its policy  to the  terrorists. The Coalition Support Funds (CSF) were part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by President Donald Trump in the beginning of the year  when he accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with “nothing but lies and deceit.” President Trump slammed his own country  saying that the US had “foolishly” given Pakistan $33 billion in aid in the last 15 years. Trump said that the US had only gotten lies and deceit in return for the monetary aid it had provided. Trump also said that US operations in Afghanistan were being hindered by the “safe haven” that Pakistan was providing to terrorists.US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was mandated to authorize USD 300 million in CSF funds through this summer – if he saw concrete Pakistani actions to go after insurgents. Mattis chose not to, a US official told BBC news .“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining USD 300 (million) was reprogrammed,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said.Faulkner said the Pentagon aimed to spend the USD 300 million on “other urgent priorities” if approved by Congress. He said another USD 500 million in CSF was stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, to bring the total withheld to USD 800 million.The disclosure came ahead of an expected visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the top US military officer, General Joseph Dunford, to Islamabad. Mattis told reporters on Tuesday that combating militants would be a “primary part of the discussion.”Experts on the Afghan conflict, America’s longest war, argue that militant safe havens in Pakistan have allowed Taliban-linked insurgents in Afghanistan a place to plot deadly strikes and regroup after ground offensives.The Pentagon’s decision showed that the United States is not  satisfied with  Pakistan after its failure to change  behaviour towards  the  militants .“It is a calibrated, incremental ratcheting up of pressure on Pakistan,” said Sameer Lalwani, co-director of the South Asia program at the Stimson Center think tank in Washington.Reuters reported in August that the Trump administration has quietly started cutting scores of Pakistani officers from coveted training and educational programs that have been a hallmark of bilateral military relations for more than a decade.The Pentagon made similar determinations on CSF in the past but this year’s move could get more attention from Islamabad, and its new prime minister, Imran Khan, at a time when its economy is struggling.Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have plummeted over the past year and it will soon decide on whether to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or friendly nations such as China which has almost colonized the Islamist nation. Pentagon records reveal that   Pakistan has received more than USD 33 billion in US assistance since 2002, including more than USD 14 billion in CSF granted  bt the  US Defense Department to reimburse allies for incurring  the expenditure on countering  insurgencts.The latest decision is also being interpreted by analysts who opine that relations between Washington and Islamabad are worsening under Trump.(image courtesy to Time)



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