US suspends at least $900 million in security aid to Pakistan

Published: January 5, 2018
Says no security assistant until Pakistan takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. PHOTO: REUTERS

Says no security assistant until Pakistan takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Thursday it was suspending at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan until it takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network militant groups.

The US State Department announced the decision, saying it reflected the Trump administration’s frustration that Pakistan has not done more against the two groups.

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The department declined to say exactly how much aid would be suspended, saying the numbers were still being calculated and included funding from both the State and Defence departments.

US officials said two main categories of aid are affected: foreign military financing (FMF), which funds purchases of US 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 US national security priorities.

CSF funds, which fall under Defence Department authority, are covered by the freeze, said Pentagon spokesman Commander Patrick Evans, saying Congress authorised up to $900 million in such money for Pakistan for fiscal year 2017, which ended September 30. None of that money has yet been disbursed.

The freeze also covers $255 million in FMF for fiscal year 2016, which falls under State Department authority and whose suspension has already been announced, as well as unspecified amounts of FMF that went unspent in earlier fiscal years.

Briefing reporters, US officials stressed the suspension did not affect civilian aid to Pakistan and that the money could go through if Islamabad took decisive action against the groups.

“Our hope is that they will see this as a further indication of this administration’s immense frustration with the trajectory of our relationship and that they need to be serious about taking the steps we have asked in order to put it on [the] more solid footing,” a senior State Department official told reporters.

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“We’re hoping that Pakistan will see this as an incentive, not a punishment,” he added.

The Trump administration briefed Congress on its decision on Wednesday.

Pakistan has long rejected accusations that it fails to tackle the militants battling the Kabul government and foreign forces from sanctuaries on the Pakistani side of the border.

Tense ties between the uneasy allies nosedived on January 1 when US 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.

Trump’s frustrations are shared by some US lawmakers, who accused Pakistan of playing a double game by allowing militant groups sanctuary – which Islamabad denies – despite promising to crack down on them.

“Pakistan is one of the most duplicitous governments I’ve had any involvement with,” Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters. “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.”

South Asia expert Christine Fair of Georgetown University voiced concern that Pakistan might retaliate for the suspension by closing the highways from the port city of Karachi on which equipment is trucked to land-locked Afghanistan and the airspace through which supplies are flown to US-led international forces there.

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“What is the plan if they close the GLOCs?” she asked, using the military acronym for Ground Lines of Communications.

“What if the Pakistanis shut down the ALOCs (Air Lines of Communications). How do you keep supplying the ANSF?” she asked, referring to the Afghan national security forces.

“Pakistan could be within their rights if they tell us you don’t have flyover rights anymore,” she said.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • illpopo
    Jan 5, 2018 - 1:09PM

    Okay, lets see what Pakistani Generals do now!Recommend

  • israr
    Jan 5, 2018 - 1:12PM

    best thing that could have happened to Pakistan mashaAllah now keep this broken we do not require them at allRecommend

  • Atif
    Jan 5, 2018 - 1:16PM

    We have China.Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Jan 5, 2018 - 1:35PM

    Good riddance, it wasn’t like we had flowing rivers of honey and streets paved with gold while we were getting the funds … keep it you’ll need it more than us!Recommend

  • Waseem Akhtar
    Jan 5, 2018 - 2:33PM

    It is good idea if we charge them a 1000$ per container and they end up spending more than a billion on fees for usingour land routes.
    This is still a 50% saving to them against using central asian route approximately 1,700 a box as per their own senate committees.Recommend

  • BrainBro
    Jan 5, 2018 - 3:27PM

    I kept saying that it is a matter between the GHQ and Washington because these are military reimbursements. This aid is not related to civilian assistance like the media is being forced to portray.Recommend

  • Habibullah
    Jan 5, 2018 - 4:13PM

    China peoples will give more money for Pakistan !!Recommend

  • Turbulence
    Jan 5, 2018 - 5:54PM

    Don’t bet on it, China will help but the terms of the loans will make future generations cry tears of blood. @Atif: Recommend

  • Swetha
    Jan 5, 2018 - 6:29PM

    People here talking abt china giving money..Why should they give you their money to fight your war on terrorRecommend

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