Questions About US Aid to Pakistan Put Focus on Military's Spending

Posted January 05, 2018

"We consider them to be destabilizing the region and also targeting USA personnel", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a regular news briefing.

The freeze covers most of the security aid to Pakistan and it follows the withholding of $255 million in military aid to Islamabad that was announced earlier.

Back in August, when announcing his new policy on Afghanistan and South Asia, the president said: "We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting".

"Until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani group - we consider them to be a destabilizing the region and targeting USA personnel - the United States will suspend that type of security assistance to Pakistan".

The vagueness of the declaration suggests it is created to back up the President's New Year's Day tweet accusing Pakistan of playing USA leaders for "fools".

More news: Everton boss Allardyce makes worrying admission about Barkley

"We will not be delivering military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Thursday. He suggests that it is the time for Washington to end Pakistan's double games. The last Coalition Support Funds were paid to Pakistan in March a year ago, provided under defense spending legislation for 2016.

But on Tuesday, Pakistan called Trump's tweet "completely incomprehensible" and at odds with recent "trust-building" visits by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Mattis. He reiterated longstanding allegations that Pakistan gives "safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan".

But Pakistan entirely rejected Trump's accusations, and termed them unwarranted and detrimental to Pak-US relations.

Pakistan on Thursday said it would duly respond to any U.S drone strike on its soil. The country received more than $1 billion in US assistance in 2016.

"However, Congress and the public are concerned that Pakistan is not producing a measurable result to correlate with US investment", the report said. In an article published on the website of Gatestone Institute, an worldwide policy council and think tank in New York, Islamabad-based journalist Kaswar Klasra has said that ISIS will continue to carry out attacks, itself or through other outfits such as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the Taliban, unless Pakistan takes them to task, reported ANI.

More news: Official denies Trump's accusation that China sold oil to North Korea

"The Trump administration decision has abundantly vindicated India's stand as far as terror is concerned and as far as the role of Pakistan is concerned in perpetrating terrorism", according to minister of state in Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh, NDTV reported on January 2, 2018. Gen. Asif Ghafoor told a Pakistani news channel on Wednesday that Pakistan would continue to cooperate with the US but would not "compromise on national interests and prestige".

The $255 million now being withheld is annual military aid that the United States still provides directly to Pakistan in return for fighting terrorism.

But he said it could be a backup plan in response to the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US and its allies. It accused the USA of scapegoating Pakistan for its own failure to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Nauert said that Pakistan's failure to take action against Lakshar-e-Taiba leader Hafeez Saeed was not a factor in the action.

Trump, Secretary Defence Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence have rejected Pakistan's explanations and hurled threats of aid cut, sanctions and losing territory if it fails to abide by the United States dictates.

More news: Did Wenger and Alexis get lucky with Man City injuries?

Hours before the tweet, a US Special Forces soldier had been killed in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan, and four were injured in a terrorist attack.