In a blow to already deteriorating ties between the United States and Pakistan, the Pentagon on Sunday cancelled $300 million in aid meant for its ally. The aid was cancelled after Pakistan ‘failed to take decisive action’ against terror groups based within its borders.
“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, the remaining $300 million (actually $323.6 million to include non-Pakistan funds) was reprogrammed by DoD in the June/July 2018 time frame for other urgent priorities before the funds expire on September 30, 2018,” Pentagon Spokesman Koné Faulkner told PTI.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has refused to give the necessary certification to the Congress that Pakistan has taken strong steps against terrorist groups like the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba, following which the Department of Defence (DoD) reprogrammed $800 million CSF destined for Pakistan. “This is not a new decision or a new announcement,” Faulkner told PTI.
“In 2018, the DoD Appropriations Act, published on March 23, 2018, you can find the verbiage detailing $500M was rescinded by Congress upon the 2018 DoD Appropriations Act’s passage (page 161), which is all public,” he said. “We continue to press Pakistan to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups, including the Haqqani Network and LET in the region,” Faulkner added.
Earlier in April, US had expressed concern over terrorist groups continuing to enjoy safe haven in Pakistan and asked the country to do more against “externally oriented” extremist outfits. In 2017, the Trump administration had made its stand clear to Pakistan over harbouring terrorists. While announcing his Afghanistan policy, Trump said that America needs to change its approach in dealing with Pakistan, “We cannot be silent about Pakistan’s safe haven for terror groups.”
Identifying Pakistan as a refuge state to terrorism the President had said, “Pakistan often gives safe havens to agents of chaos, violence and terror.”