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U.S. Withholds $300 million aid to Pakistan

01 Sep 2018 Rasad News Agency

September 2, 2018

WASHINGTON: “The U.S. military said it has made a final decision to cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan that had been suspended over Islamabad’s perceived failure to take decisive action against militants, in a new blow to deteriorating ties,” Reuters reports.

“This is simply an assessment of the current state of play,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon Friday. “It’s not a policy. It is a reality.”

The U.S. has declined to make military reimbursements in the past, withholding $300 million last year. Pakistan has already been reimbursed $550 million of the $900 million it was authorized to receive in fiscal year 2016.

Mattis’ decision affects $50 million that was previously earmarked for Pakistan

The so-called Coalition Support Funds were part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by President Donald Trump at the start of the year, when he accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with “nothing but lies & deceit.”

Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said Mattis “could not certify that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani network per the requirement in the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA].”

“The Trump administration says Islamabad is granting safe haven to insurgents who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighboring Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan denies.”

Pakistan’s efforts have reduced the ability of some militant groups to use North Waziristan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas as a safe haven for terrorism, but the Taliban and the Haqqani network continue to operate in other locations in Pakistan, Stump said.

Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Asia Program, told VOA he expects Trump to take a harder line toward Pakistan than former President Barack Obama took.

“I think he’ll [Trump] have more aid cuts, and I simply think he’ll have less patience for the Pakistanis and their lack of movement on dealing with the Haqqani network and the Taliban,” Kugelman said.

He added that the Trump administration will be more likely to take steps such as flying drones targeting Afghan Taliban leaders in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, which some experts have called the de facto headquarters of the Afghan Taliban.

The area was previously immune to U.S. drone strikes until May 2016, when a Hellfire missile killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour.

“The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is in for some difficult times,” he said.

(Monitoring Desk/Rasad News Agency)

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