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Country says USA military aid suspension 'counterproductive'

05 January, 2018, 13:46 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Reacting to US threats, Pak army official says 'no amount of coercion can dictate us'

Nauert said that despite sustained high-level engagement with Pakistan's government, "the Taliban and Haqqani network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan as they plot to destabilize Afghanistan and attack US and allied personnel".

Later that month, the administration notified Pakistan that it was delaying a payment of $255 million in military aid, pending progress against Haqqani network militants who the US says are based in Pakistan and aid the Taliban.

"Today we can confirm that we are suspending security assistance to Pakistan at this time", Nauert said.

The State Department has commented that Pakistan needs to earn the money it gets from Washington, with spokesperson Heather Nauert saying, "They (Pakistan) need to better earn, essentially, the money that we have provided in the past in foreign military assistance, they need to show that they are honest in their efforts to crack down on terrorists".

"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools".

Relations between Pakistan and the USA long have been strained, and tensions have only grown since the summer, when the Trump administration announced its policy on Afghanistan and South Asia.

US 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. But it could end up backfiring by diminishing the cooperation between the US and Pakistan to combat terror groups in the region. The last Coalition Support Funds were paid to Pakistan in March previous year, provided under defense spending legislation for 2016.

Some analysts have said there is no real way to pressure Pakistan, which believes keeping Kabul out of nemesis India's orbit is more important than clamping down on cross-border militancy.

Trump has accused Islamabad of providing a safe haven for terrorists.

"We're hoping that Pakistan will see this as an incentive, not a punishment", he added. The country received more than $1 billion in US assistance in 2016. US aid agencies alone gave nearly $5 million to Pakistan in 2017, according to data from USAID. Pressure from the US also resulted in a buildup of Pakistani military presence along the border with Afghanistan. Gen. Asif Ghafoor told a Pakistani news channel on Wednesday that Pakistan would continue to cooperate with the USA but would not "compromise on national interests and prestige". I was asked for comments by IndiaTimesNow but got thoroughly disappointed by my curt reply that, 'Pakistan is quite used to ups and downs in its relationship with United States of America, but mercifully it has got out of the U.S. magic spell, and it no more yearns for US aid, and that it is now India's turn, which is in the tight embrace of USA, to face the music. 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 Trump administration briefed Congress on its decision on Wednesday.

Yesterday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had placed Pakistan on a special watch list for severe violations of religious freedom.

The military aid, known as foreign military financing, "promotes the development of Pakistan's long-term [counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism] capabilities and improves Pakistan's ability to participate in maritime security operations and counter-maritime piracy", according to the State Department.

Prof. Lin believes if the US and its allies push their Indo- Pacific strategy to the extreme, China will surely carry out a plan with Pakistan to ensure the security of sea routes.

"It's north of $255 million", said one USA official.

Bilateral relations became increasingly fraught since the USA special-forces raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that led killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden in May 2011.

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