United States military to cancel over $300 million in aid to Pakistan

Saul Bowman
September 3, 2018

Officials in Pakistan are downplaying the significance of a USA military plan to cancel $300 million assistance to the country for not doing enough against terrorist groups inside its borders.

"Pakistan takes exception to the factually incorrect statement issued by U.S. State Department" on the phone call, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Twitter.

Earlier this year, the State Department said it was withholding security funding to the country that could be reinstated if it were determined that Pakistan was making progress on ridding itself of terrorists that have been fighting a 17-year war in Afghanistan. "We will try to improve ties between the two countries".

"We will hear him and let him know the aspiration of the nation", Qureshi said. "But leaking this to media before Pak-US talks is annoying". Pakistan has consistently denied it grants safe haven to the militant groups.

The US in January this year suspended more than 1.15 billion dollar security assistance to Pakistan, accusing it of harbouring terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network and showing unwillingness to take decisive actions against them.

Mr Trump in August a year ago unveiled his new South Asia policy and asked Pakistan to do more against such groups.

Faulkner added the funds would be redistributed to other "urgent priorities", pending Congress approval.

The disclosure came ahead of an expected visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US General Joseph Dunford, to Islamabad.

Defense chief Jim Mattis told reporters last week that militants will be a "primary part of their discussion". "So, we want them to be successful", said the top United States official while indicating that Washington could also work with worldwide financial institutions to help boost the ailing Pakistani economy because "economy is going to be the key" to Pakistan's success.

It also underscored that Islamabad has yet to deliver the kind of change sought by Washington.

But a final decision was made "due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy", Faulkner told Reuters. Reuters reported in August that the Trump administration has quietly started cutting scores of Pakistani officers from coveted training and educational programmes that have been a hallmark of bilateral military relations for more than a decade. Trump administration has intensified its pressure on Pakistan, particularly after Imran Khan has sworn in as the new Prime Minister.

"Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with [this effort] in Afghanistan", the president said during a speech last August. The United States has the largest share of votes at the International Monetary Fund.

As for Khan, he has opposed America's open-ended presence in Afghanistan and once suggested he might order USA drones to be shot down if they enter Pakistan's airspace.

The spokesperson clarified, "The suspension of security assistance to Pakistan was announced in January 2018".

The cut in aid is serious, but the US still sends more than a billion dollars to Pakistan in other military aid and economic assistance.

Pakistan could again be eligible next year for CSF.

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