US cancels Pakistan aid over militant record

03 September, 2018, 18:58 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • US to stop $300 million aid for Pakistan cites lack of strong action on terrorism as reason

Adopting a tougher line with an ally that U.S. President Donald Trump considers unreliable, the United States halted the disbursement of Coalition Support Funds due to Islamabad's perceived failure to take decisive action against Afghan Taliban militants operating from Pakistani soil.

A Pentagon spokesman said the funds will be driven elsewhere if Congress approves.

He said the other $500 million in Coalition Support Funds was stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, to bring the total withheld to $800 million. "This is our own money which we have used for improving regional security situation and they had to reimburse it to us", Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters September 2 in Islamabad, according to Voice of America.

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

Talking about how the Pakistani government will press the U.S. officials, including Pompeo and top United States military officer General Joseph Dunford who are scheduled to visit Islamabad on September 5, he said, "We will sit and discuss this with him [Pompeo]".

The Trump administration has claimed Islamabad is granting safe haven to militants who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighboring Afghanistan - a charge Pakistan denies.

"It was all our money that we spent and they (US) were merely reimbursing it", he said.

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Mere days ahead of a short visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pakistan, the US Department of Defence has announced a permanent aid cut to Pakistan of $300m.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has said the government does not expect the Indian leadership to be inclined to respond positively to Pakistan's desire of talks to resolve issues.

Earlier he told the BBC Urdu that the USA in principle should pay back the money to Pakistan because it was spent for a common objective to defeat militancy and create peace and stability.

"In terms of separating what was said during a campaign and what he said since the election, we want to give him (Mr. Khan) space to find the opportunities to improve things with India", Schriver said.

But the U.S. does not want a complete break in ties with Pakistan. "We have several combined interest. we will take our mutual respect for each other into consideration and move forward", he said. "We will listen to him and present our point of view to him as well", he said. "We did it for our betterment, which they had to reimburse". At the time, the administration said Pakistan could receive the funds if it showed it was serious about clamping down on terrorist groups.

Saying both Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa were on the same page on internal and external security issues, the minister said Pakistan was quite clear "that India has no role to play in Afghanistan".

He added that there is a trust deficit between Pakistan and the U.S. but the government wants to improve the ties and build trust between the two countries.

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