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USA suspends $2 billion military aid to Pakistan over terror inaction

USA suspends $2 billion military aid to Pakistan over terror inaction

Responding to Washington's allegations, Maj Gen Ghafoor, the military's media wing chief, said Pakistan had taken action against the Haqqani network.

That same day, an anonymous DOS official explained to reporters that the Trump administration is only freezing the aid.

Ghafoor also denied USA allegations that Pakistan was giving either the Taliban or the Haqqanis any sort of safe haven from which they can attack US forces in neighboring Afghanistan. It also placed the country on a watch list of nations failing to protect religious freedom.

Ms. Nauert made clear the $255 million was still blocked, and the Pentagon said the new action targets payments of so-called Coalition Support Funds that the U.S. pays to Pakistan to reimburse it for its counterterrorism operations.

"Arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements and shifting goalposts are counterproductive in addressing common threats", the Foreign Office said in a statement in Islamabad earlier.

Some regional analysts question whether the Trump administration has a plan for how to move forward, or if the decision to cut funding was a reaction to recent comments from Pakistan's foreign minister, who accused Trump on Wednesday of lying about how much aid the US gives Pakistan. "The US will suspend that kind of security assistance to Pakistan", State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters. If the USA keeps piling on new actions, Pakistan's calls for retaliation will likely grow.

"Obviously, we'll continue talking with one another as we are at all times", Mattis said.

The editorial said: "Almost every military flight into Afghanistan goes through Pakistani airspace".

Asked if he believed the civilian government was capable of assisting USA counterterrorism efforts in the region, Mr Mattis said: "I would say the Pakistan government is capable of doing what we're trying to do together, yes". The official further said, "Hope that Pakistan would take actions that the U.S. was seeking as it will allow the relationship to return to a more positive trajectory".

Also on Friday, a senior Trump administration official told journalists in Washington that the suspension would cost Pakistan an estimated $2 billion in military funding and equipment during the current and next fiscal years.

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The US and others have long complained that Pakistan offered safe haven to the Afghan Taliban and their allies, the Haqqani Network, allowing them to carry out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. Whether Pakistan will cooperate after the aid freeze remains to be seen.

"So they know exactly what it is that we've asked of them", the official added.

Earlier this week, a high-level huddle of the Pakistani civil-military leadership expressed disappointment over the U.S. president's anti-Pakistan statement, however, decided not to take measures in haste in reply to U.S. allegations. He said the committee has made a decision to reconvene next week for a briefing by security agencies.

McMaster, an Army lieutenant general who served in Afghanistan, has been a key driver of the Trump administration's efforts to strengthen its stance against Pakistan. They said they could make exceptions to fund critical US national security priorities. The Foreign Ministry said the designation is not based on "objective criteria".

"Pakistan remains an important country in the region and in the world and has historically been a vital partner for the United States", the official said.

Pakistan and the United States settled into an uneasy alliance after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, with Pakistan arresting al-Qaeda operatives and allowing drone attacks inside its airspace. Former President Barack Obama did so, albeit with more finesse, and even acted militarily against Pakistan in May 2011 when he ordered in U.S. Navy SEALs to kill Osama bin Laden, who was hiding in a safe house less than a mile from the premier military academy where Pakistani officers are trained.

The United States has given Pakistan more than $20 billion in reimbursements and military assistance since 2002, but that aid has diminished over the years, to the point that Pakistani officials have insisted that its suspension will have minimal impact.

The suspended amount also include $ 255 million in Foreign Military Funding (FMF) for the fiscal year 2016 as mandated by the Congress. Pakistan could shut down American access at any moment, and some Pakistani officials are threatening to do just that'. "The country's dignity should be maintained, while engaging with the U.S.", he said.

Expressing his concerns over the rise in Pakistan funded terrorism; US President Donald Trump had suspended all security assistance to Pakistan.


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