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Trump administration suspends security assistance to Pakistan

Trump administration suspends security assistance to Pakistan

Jan 05, 2018 - 09:00

PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): The Trump administration has announced suspending entire security assistance to Pakistaninfo-icon for failing to crack down on the Afghan Talibaninfo-icon and the Haqqani networkinfo-icon on its soil.

The state department’s announcement indicates Washington’s escalating frustration over Pakistan’s cooperation in fighting terrorist networks, which are allegedly destabilising the region.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a news briefing in Washington: “Today we can confirm that we are suspending … security assistance only to Pakistan at this time.”

The aid cut-off was not permanent and only affected military assistance until the Pakistani government took stern action against groups including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

In line with the new approach, funds will be allocated for a particular purpose and released after that target is achieved. The targets identified with the allocation can be strategic as well as issue-specific.

The aid suspension will include equipment and the transfer of security-related funds, with possible exceptions for US national security reasons. “We are still working through the numbers,” said Nauert.

The US had already suspended $255 millions in security assistance from the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) fund. The Congress has also cut by 50 percent the $700m set aside for reimbursing Pakistan for supporting US war efforts along the Pak-Afghan border.

The suspension will now affect the remaining $350m in this account, known as the Coalition Support Fund. The aid cuts come as the US seeks more cooperation from Islamabad as part of its strategy for Afghanistaninfo-icon.

Also on Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson placed Pakistan on a special watch list for severe violations of religious freedoms. For the first time, a ‘Special Watch List’ has been created for countries that “engage in or tolerate severe violations of religious freedom but may not rise to the level of CPC (Countries of Particular Concern).

With details still being worked out on the additional funds, Nauert referred questions to the defense department. Those funds typically paid later in the year require US certification.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud


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