The US has suspended more than USD 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.
The freezing of all security assistance to Pakistan comes days after President Donald Trump in a new year tweet accused Pakistan of giving nothing to the US but “lies and deceit” and providing “safe haven” to terrorists in return for USD 33 billion aid over the last 15 years.
Prominent among the suspended amount include USD 255 million in Foreign Military Funding (FMF) for the fiscal year 2016 as mandated by the Congress.
In addition, the Department of Defense has suspended the entire USD 900 million of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) money to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2017.
“Today we can confirm that we are suspending national security assistance only, to Pakistan at this time until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. We consider them to be destabilising the region and also targeting US personnel. The US will suspend that kind of security assistance to Pakistan,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters.
The US, she said, will not be delivering military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan unless it is required by law.
Referring to the new South Asia Policy announced by Trump in August, Nauert said despite a sustained high-level engagement by this administration with the government of Pakistan, the Taliban and the Haqqani Network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan as they plot to destabilise Afghanistan and also attack the US and allied personnel.
Department of Defense Spokesperson Lt Col Mike Andrews said the National Defense Authorisation Act 2017 provides up to USD 900 million for Pakistan in CSF.
Of these funds, USD 400 million can only be released if the Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis certifies that the Pakistan government has taken specific actions against the Haqqani Network.
“At this stage all Fiscal Year 17 CSF have been suspended, so that’s the entire amount of USD 900 million,” Andrews said.
During an interaction with Pentagon reporters, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis did not respond to question if he was in favour of cutting off the aid to Pakistan.
“I prefer not to address that right now because it’s obviously still being formulated as policy. But I’ll give my advice on it to the president. I also agree on some confidentiality there,” he said.