United States last nail in frozen Pak aid

03 September, 2018, 18:59 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • US to stop $300 million aid for Pakistan cites lack of strong action on terrorism as reason

After Pentagon said that it had sought Congressional assent to reprogramme Dollars 300 million of its Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for Pakistan because of its "lack of" decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, Islamabad has defended itself.

Under the Department of Defense's Appropriations Act of 2018, signed by the president in March, Pakistan would not be refunded for any defense operations unless the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State certified that it is "cooperating with the United States in 12 counterterrorism efforts".

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said in a statement to Reuters on Saturday that if the cuts are approved by Congress, the Pentagon aimed to spend the money on "other urgent priorities".

The move earlier this summer reflects the Trump administration's dissatisfaction with Pakistan's commitment to assisting the USA strategy for pressuring the Taliban, whose leaders use Pakistan as a sanctuary. Announcing the initial suspension of funds in January, the president accused Islamabad of rewarding past USA aid with "nothing but lies & deceit".

"Due to a lack of decisive actions in support of the South Asia strategy, the remaining $300 million was reprogrammed", he said.

Previously this year, Congress canceled $500 million in CSF monies to Pakistan. He also claimed that the money in question was owed to Pakistan and did not constitute aid. In a January tweet, Mr. Trump said the US had "foolishly given" Pakistan $33 billon the past 15 years in return for "lies & deceit".

Russian Federation in particular has launched a charm offensive in Pakistan including the signing of a military cooperation pact, helicopter deliveries and officer training exercises.

In response to Pakistan's request, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters on August 23 that Pakistan is an "important partner to the United States", and that the United States hopes to "forge a good, productive working relationship with the new civilian government".

No Need to Resume US-South Korea Wargames
But since that historic meeting, there has been little progress toward the United States goal of North Korean denuclearisation. Even so, Mattis noted that diplomacy remained the core focus of USA policy, de-emphasizing a military role.

Such changes could have a big effect on the war in Afghanistan.

Pakistan is still believed to have the strongest influence over the Taliban, making its cooperation necessary for peace talks.

PM Khan, who once suggested he might order the shooting down of USA drones if they entered Pakistani airspace, has opposed the United States' open-ended presence in Afghanistan. This time may be different, however, as new Khan has said he seeks "mutually beneficial" relations with the United States.

"We continue to press Pakistan to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups", Faulkner said, adding that the latest aid cut request was pending Congressional approval.

Trump used his first tweet of 2018 to attack the Pakistani government saying they shelter the "terrorists we hunt". Pakistan has been playing both ends against the middle on the terrorism issue.

The minister said that while a section of India wanted to make Pakistan weak, the other section wished to peacefully co-exist with Islamabad, the daily said.

Qureshi argued that the US was not justified in cutting the $300 million because it was meant to reimburse Pakistan's military for money spent fighting the Taliban and other militants threatening USA troops in Afghanistan.

No restoration of USA security assistance to Pakistan before the war in Afghanistan ends, more restrictions may be imposed and Washington has serious concerns about Pakistan's growing economic ties with China, said Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall G. Schriver.



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