US resumes military training programmes with Pakistan

Alice Wells confirms overall security assistance suspension for Pakistan remains in effect

News Desk January 04, 2020
Pakistan and US flags. PHOTO: REUTERS

President of United States Donald Trump has authorised the resumption of International Military Education and Training (IMET), US State Department confirmed on Saturday.

US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador Alice Wells tweeted that the decision was taken by President Trump to strengthen military-to-military cooperation between US and Pakistan on shared priorities and advance US national security.

The decision comes a day after the US killed Iran’s top military commander of the elite Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards, Major-General Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike, who had helped Iran fight proxy wars across the Middle East by inspiring militias on the battlefield and negotiating with political leaders.

US cuts military training programmes with Pakistan as Trump cracks down

However, Wells confirmed that the overall security assistance suspension for Pakistan remains in effect.

In December 2019, the Trump administration has approved the resumption of Pakistan’s participation in a coveted US military training and educational programme more than a year after it was suspended.

The decision to resume Islamabad’s participation in the IMET – for more than a decade a pillar of US-Pakistani military ties – underscores warming relations that have followed meetings this year between President Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Washington also has credited Islamabad with helping to facilitate negotiations on a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. The talks recently resumed between the United States and the Taliban.

The State Department administers IMET. It was a small facet of US security aid programmes for Pakistan worth some $2 billion that remain suspended on orders that Trump abruptly issued in January 2018 to compel the nuclear-armed South Asian nation to crackdown on militants.

Pakistan’s suspension from the programme in August 2018 prompted the cancellation of 66 slots set aside that year for Pakistani military officers in one of the first known impacts of Trump’s decision to halt security assistance.

The US military traditionally has sought to shield such educational programmes from political tensions, arguing that the ties built by bringing foreign military officers to the United States pay long-term dividends.



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