February 26, 2018

United States freezes over $1.1 billion aid to Pakistan for harbouring terror groups

10 January 2018, 01:24 | Darnell Patrick

Why can't the USA and Pakistan agree on the 'war on terror'?

Trump cannot afford to walk away from Pakistan NY Times

Of the total $900 million CSF earmarked for 2017, $400 million is tied to a certification that Pakistan is taking adequate measures against the Haqqani Network. Khan asked. "To make Pakistan the scapegoat of a failed strategy in Afghanistan is not just a travesty of justice, it is deeply insulting and humiliating".

"At this stage all Fiscal Year 17 CSF have been suspended, so that's the entire amount of $ 900 million", Andrews said.

"They may say it's a surprise, but what is no surprise is that the President has expressed his concerns, Secretary Tillerson has expressed his concerns, as has Secretary Mattis, and I imagine many other government officials having those conversations with Pakistan", Nauert said.

"We do not have any alliance" with the United States, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on Friday.

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. A decision on a similar amount for 2017 is not due until September 2018.

"We're hoping that Pakistan will see this as an incentive, not a punishment", he added.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said January 4 the administration was still calculating the types of aid affected by the decision.

Pakistan has also acknowledged China's statement of support following the latest United States moves.

The announcements on Thursday appear to be rushed, in order to follow through on Mr. Trump's new year tweet.

"Obviously, we'll continue talking with one another, as we are at all times", said the U.S. defence chief, but he did not clarify if the conversation took place before or after Washington announced the aid suspension on Thursday. But I'll give my advice on it to the president. While the current USA administration has certainly adopted a harsh tone against Pakistan, both Bush and Obama administrations have also kept demanding that Pakistan needed to "do more" in the Global War on Terrorism (GWoT), and they remained perpetually suspicious of our role of "running with the hare and hunting with the hound".

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The Pentagon and the State Department officials left the door open for reconciliation with Islamabad.

The U.S. decision last week to suspend military aid to Pakistan is not only defensible but justified. However, whereas the United States provides military assistance, China provides loan assistance, and its history of predatory lending in developing countries does not bode too well for Pakistan.

"We're still working with Pakistan and we would restore the aid if we see decisive movements against the terrorists - who are as much a threat against Pakistan as they are to us". And they state that their leverage over the Haqqani Network and the Taliban is very limited.

But US officials accuse Islamabad of ignoring or even collaborating with groups that attack Afghanistan from safe havens along the border between the two countries. Unless they take a comprehensive approach to the terrorism problem it is going to threaten U.S. interests and everybody's interests including Pakistan s", the official said.He said the announcement of the suspension of the security assistance to Pakistan clearly reflected the US' frustration over Pakistan's failure to crack down on all terrorists who find shelter on its territory."There has been ample time for Pakistan to show it is taking our request seriously.

"This is more of a political statement in response to pressure from the U.S., telling the USA that Pakistan has a great relationship with China and that Pakistan would become even closer with China", said Dong Dengxin, Director of the Finance and Securities Institute at Wuhan University of Science and Technology.

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.

Senator Paul said in his tweet, "I'm introducing a bill to end aid to Pakistan in the coming days. Whether it accomplishes more than that is yet to be seen".

Aid cuts will not impact civilian assistance to Pakistan, noted the State Department.

"The suspension is arguably more significant as a signal of Washington's discontent than as an act of financial deprivation", said Joshua T. White, an Asia analyst who was director of South Asian affairs at the National Security Council during the Obama years.

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