United States suspends security assistance with Pakistan over Taliban attacks

Marie Harrington
January 5, 2018

"We consider them to be destabilizing the region and also targeting USA personnel", Nauert said during a news briefing, according to Reuters.

USA officials said two main categories of aid are affected: foreign military financing (FMF), which funds purchases of US military hardware, training and services, and coalition support funds (CSF), which reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism operations.

WASHINGTON-The Trump administration said it would freeze all security assistance to Pakistan until the country takes a tougher stance against terror networks on its territory, a move that reflects new tensions and could lead to problems in supplying USA troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

Tense ties between the uneasy allies nosedived on January 1 when U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out on Twitter against Islamabad's "lies and deceit" despite $33 billion in aid and the White House warned of "specific actions" to pressure Pakistan.

"The United States stands ready to work with Pakistan in combating all terrorists, without distinction", Nauert said.

The widely reported data collected from USA and Pakistan government agencies suggest a huge chunk, around $14.5 billion, has gone to the Pakistani military for covering its claimed costs of anti-terror operations. The last Coalition Support Funds were paid to Pakistan in March a year ago, provided under defense spending legislation for 2016.

In his first tweet of 2018, Trump said the U.S.

Three days ago, Trump complained on Twitter that Pakistan had "given us nothing but lies and deceit" and accused it of providing "safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan".

Protests emerge in Pakistan against Donald Trump's decision to suspend over $1 billion military aid
United States suspends security assistance with Pakistan over Taliban attacks

But despite the provocations, the United States does not want to completely rupture its relationship with Pakistan, where anti-American sentiment already runs high. Earlier this year Washington suspended $255 million in FMF. The $33 billion Trump referred to represents all USA military and economic aid to Pakistan since 2002. Pressure from the US also resulted in a buildup of Pakistani military presence along the border with Afghanistan. In an article published on the website of Gatestone Institute, an global policy council and think tank in New York, Islamabad-based journalist Kaswar Klasra has said that ISIS will continue to carry out attacks, itself or through other outfits such as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the Taliban, unless Pakistan takes them to task, reported ANI.

"The timing and nature of the Trump administration's decision are worrisome. Pakistan's cooperation is not based on any consideration of aid but on our national interests and principles", Maleeha Lodh, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations, said in response to Haley's comments.

In August, he was more forthright and warned that Pakistan "has much to lose" if ig persisted in aiding terrorists. Officials say the country has made enormous sacrifices to support the US war on terror.

Pakistan, which serves as a key transport route for supplies to US forces in Afghanistan, denies harboring terrorists.

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.

"We have contributed and sacrificed the most in fighting worldwide terrorism and carried out the largest counterterrorism operation anywhere in the world", Pakistan's U.N. Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said Wednesday.

On Thursday, the US State Department also tweeted that it has placed deeply conservative Muslim Pakistan on a special watch list for severe violations of religious freedom.

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Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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