Pentagon cancels $300 million 'aid' to Pakistan

Published: September 2, 2018
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

REUTERS PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: The US 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.

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.”

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.

But US officials had held out the possibility that Pakistan could win back that support if it changed its behavior.

US mulls further reduction in security aid to Pakistan

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in particular, had an opportunity to authorize $300 million in CSF funds through this summer – if he saw concrete Pakistani actions to go after insurgents. Mattis chose not to, a US official told Reuters.

“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining $300 (million) was reprogrammed,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said.
Faulkner said the Pentagon aimed to spend the $300 million on “other urgent priorities” if approved by Congress.

He said another $500 million in CSF was stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, to bring the total withheld to $800 million.

The disclosure came ahead of an expected visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the top US military officer, General Joseph Dunford, to Islamabad.

Mattis told reporters on Tuesday that combating militants would be a “primary part of the discussion.”

Experts on the Afghan conflict, America’s longest war, argue that militant safe havens in Pakistan have allowed Taliban-linked insurgents in Afghanistan a place to plot deadly strikes and regroup after ground offensives.

The Pentagon’s decision showed that the United States, which has sought to change Pakistani behavior, is still increasing pressure on Pakistan’s security apparatus. It also underscored that Islamabad has yet to deliver the kind of change sought by Washington.

“It is a calibrated, incremental ratcheting up of pressure on Pakistan,” said Sameer Lalwani, co-director of the South Asia program at the Stimson Center think tank in Washington.

Reuters reported in August that the Trump administration has quietly started cutting scores of Pakistani officers from coveted training and educational programs that have been a hallmark of bilateral military relations for more than a decade.

Despite Pakistan anger US stands by readout, hails Imran-Pompeo contact as ‘good one’

The Pentagon made similar determinations on CSF in the past but this year’s move could get more attention from Islamabad, and its new prime minister, Imran Khan, at a time when its economy is struggling.

Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have plummeted over the past year and it will soon decide on whether to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or friendly nations such as China.

“They are squeezing them when they know that they’re vulnerable and it is probably a signal about what to expect should Pakistan come to the IMF for a loan,” Lalwani said.

The United States has the largest share of votes at the IMF. Khan, who once suggested he might order the shooting down of US drones if they entered Pakistani airspace, has opposed the United States’ open-ended presence in Afghanistan.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Salman
    Sep 2, 2018 - 2:31AM

    If they think that $300 million will changes the policy, the Americans are living on some other planet.

    This is such a boon for Pakistan that the pennies are being withdrawn.

    In my view, the government should start charging commercial rates for the transportaton of goods and using airspace for access to Afghanistan.

    The Americans have had free access so far. That should end immediately! Recommend

  • Mare
    Sep 2, 2018 - 2:50AM

    Will Pakistan stop providing access to Afghanistan?Recommend

  • zard
    Sep 2, 2018 - 3:49AM

    I suppose that years of systemic anti American blather/bias was bound to have consequences. USA is under new leadership and the days of USA paying big bucks to countries that aren’t friendly are over. Don’t count on any IMF support and don’t be surprised if USA places tariff on Pakistan if IK makes any threats. USA doesn’t mind if Pakistan runs to China – that places burden on China and encourages India to run to USA. Recommend

  • cuban
    Sep 2, 2018 - 4:54AM

    That may set the tone for Pompeo meeting, It’s obvious the USA is through giving money and Pompeo may remind IK that the USA can still impose tariffs on textiles and shut down IMF funding. Given Pakistan’s current economic status sales to the USA and borrowing from the IMF may have greater importance than military aid.Recommend

  • Jamil Chaudri
    Sep 2, 2018 - 5:02AM

    It is time for Pakistan to show backbone. As soon as American ‘Diplomats’ land in Pakistan they should be put put back on the aircraft for the return journey. America wants transactional relations with Pakistan. I m suggesting a a form of transactional exchange.Recommend

  • Saad
    Sep 2, 2018 - 5:54AM

    First of all, Pakistan should become self-sufficient. There is still no proof that Pakistan can be run without aid.Recommend

  • Sameer
    Sep 2, 2018 - 6:35AM

    Well then… Nothing stopping us now from purchasing those s400s.Recommend

  • brandy
    Sep 2, 2018 - 7:03AM

    USA historically used carrot/stick – now they have thrown away the carrot. USA military was always the defender of Pakistan military and now they have recommended permanent shut off of Pakistan funding – that’s a first and everyone should take notice. The timing b4 Pompeo visit may indicate a fundamental shift in USA policy – last think IK needs right now. Recommend

  • SuperNeo
    Sep 2, 2018 - 7:32AM

    A very Good move, the next step is should be deporting all their citizens from NATO countries Recommend

  • S Zafar Iqbal
    Sep 2, 2018 - 7:47AM

    A blessing in disguise. Let’s take it positively. Let it not mar our relations with the U.S. If handled properly it will be the beginning of the freedom from the shackles of dependency. Recommend

  • Salman Hasan
    Sep 2, 2018 - 7:53AM

    Time for Pakistan to rid themselves off US aid. They should find ways to stand on their own feet and close all doors of US imperialistic pressures. In the end US will loose more in Afghanistan. This is another Trump foreign policy disaster. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Sep 2, 2018 - 10:10AM

    Thank you very much to give us more reasons not trust on the USA anymore.Recommend

  • Reji nair
    Sep 2, 2018 - 12:18PM

    Running with tge hare and hunting with the hound is not possible any moreRecommend

  • bhai
    Sep 2, 2018 - 2:12PM

    Chalega humare paas China hai, US is a spent power. CPEC har marz ki dawa hai.Recommend

  • Avtar
    Sep 2, 2018 - 3:04PM

    Time for IK to stand for his principles.Recommend

  • Zaffar
    Sep 2, 2018 - 7:26PM

    Pakistani should start charging US govt. In advance if they want their containers to pass through pak. territory.Its the Afgan taliban who are fighting to liberate their country against the aggressors.Recommend

  • Pro Truth
    Sep 3, 2018 - 7:59AM

    CSF is reimbursement of expenses that already spent by Pakistan on supporting Nato forces in Afghanistan, so its not an aid but a bill that US has to pay! they are trying to arm twist Pakistan as they are losing or shall already lost in Afghanistan! the mighty Nato has already lost, they will need all the support Pakistan can offer to negotiate a peace deal in Afghanistan.Recommend

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