US cancels Pakistan aid over militant record

Larry Hoffman
September 3, 2018

After Pentagon said that it had sought Congressional assent to reprogramme Dollars 300 million of its Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for Pakistan because of its "lack of" decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, Islamabad has defended itself.

The aid originally earmarked for Pakistan will now be spent on "other urgent priorities", according to Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford are planning to visit the region in a few days, stopping first in India and then flying to Islamabad, where they are expected to discuss security.

While Islamabad has not offered any reaction to the USA announcement, government officials have privately criticized it and insisted the money was not aid, but "reimbursements for expenses incurred" by Pakistan to conduct operations in support of US -led "war on terrorism" in Afghanistan.

He said further funding stripped from Pakistan aid earlier this year brought the total withheld to $800m (£617m).

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

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's impromptu visit to Lahore in December 2015 to meet his then Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif, Sidhu said PM Modi visited there without any invitation, and that was because he understands "talks are the only way (forward)".

Pakistani officials defend their counterterrorism record and cite "massive human and economic losses" militancy has inflicted on the country after it joined the US war. Earlier this year, the US accused Pakistan of sponsoring extremist groups, including the Taliban, and requested the country be placed on a global terror "gray list" that would make it more hard to obtain worldwide loans. "They (US) are showing only one side of it; we will show the other side", he said. Analysts note that the U.S. maintains the largest share of votes at the International Monetary Fund and so would have a strong voice on the terms and conditions of any bailout.

Worldwide relations expert Huma Baqai said the Pakistan-US ties had deteriorated like 'never before.' "We still have a chance as Pompeo and Dunford are coming for talks".

Among the issues Mr. Pompeo is expected to raise on his visit is counterterrorism in the region.

In an apparent rebuttal to his critics, the Congress leader said his trip to Pakistan resulted in a message of peace. He had accused the Pakistan of bundle of lies and cheating the US.

At the time of the January announcement, the Pentagon said Pakistan could earn back some of the cash from the USA if it did more to stop the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups. "With China, Pakistan already had good relations so Pakistan can not be isolated".

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