Trump Suggests Freezing $1.9B in Aid to Pakistan Just the Start

Trump Suggests Freezing $1.9B in Aid to Pakistan Just the Start

Trump Suggests Freezing $1.9B in Aid to Pakistan Just the Start

The US has suspended more than $1.15 billion security assistance to Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of harbouring terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network within its border and showing unwillingness to take "decisive actions" against them.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in an interview with the local Geo News television, said the USA was "now neither a friend nor ally but a friend who always betrays". "This is not how allies behave". We disagree. We believe that there is significant evidence that leadership of the Haqqani Network resides inside Pakistan and is able to plan and execute from Pakistan attacks inside Afghanistan.

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. The only way to force real change is to make it too painful for the military to continue on its present course, while presenting Pakistan's citizens and civilian leaders with a better alternative.

The State Department's declaration on Thursday lambasted Pakistan for failing to take "decisive action" against Taliban militants targeting US personnel in neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistan denies supporting Afghan Taliban, pointing to its own war against extremist groups battling to overthrow the government.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a press briefing that the exact sum of the relative assistance is still being figured out.

Pakistan is largely shrugging off proposed United States aid cuts but frets that Washington could take more drastic measures to deter what it sees as the South Asian nation's support for Taliban militants in neighboring Afghanistan.

USA officials said two main categories of aid are affected: foreign military financing (FMF), which funds purchases of USA military hardware, training and services, and coalition support funds (CSF), which reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism operations. They said they could make exceptions to fund critical USA national security priorities. The suspension of funding includes Coalition Support Funds for Pakistan, a sum the Pentagon provides to help pay the costs of Pakistan's counter-terror operations.Congress authorized up to $900 million in these support funds for Pakistan for the fiscal year 2017, none of which has been disbursed.

In response, Pakistan summoned the US ambassador to Pakistan late Monday to lodge a protest, saying Pakistan has taken action against all militant groups without any discrimination and its sacrifices are being ignored. 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". With all lines of communication closed, the Taliban will become even more unsafe, particularly for Pakistan, which has always faced the blowback of previous adventures in Afghanistan, whether launched by the Russians or Americans, the report said.

China could once again be the beneficiary of a Trump decision whose signature tune is estrangement with and from long-time partners.

"There are considerable risks for the United States because Pakistan could retaliate in ways that would be very problematic for USA regional interests", he said, such as curtailing intelligence cooperation and U.S. supply lines into Afghanistan. "Arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements and shifting goal posts are counterproductive in addressing common threats". "My bill will take the money that would have gone to Pakistan and put it in an infrastructure fund to build roads and bridges here at home".

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.

"If the funding is cut, the Pakistanis will obviously retaliate by ceasing to cooperate with the U.S.", Dr. Zubair Iqbal, an economist focusing on Pakistan, told Newsweek.

Underscoring Pakistan's strategic importance, the newspaper suggested that Trump could marshal "diplomatic tools" to see if more "constructive cooperation" with Pakistan is possible. "Their, in essence, support of the Haqqani network, or ... allowing them to have safe harbour in their country when they're the greatest threat to our men and women in uniform".

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

"No, I'm not concerned", Mattis told reporters on Friday at the Pentagon when asked about the prospect of Pakistan shutting down what the military calls Ground Lines of Communication, or GLOCs.

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