State Department: We're Suspending Security Assistance to Pakistan

05 January, 2018, 13:41 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Pakistan US US-Pakistan United states pakistan foreign office terrorism Pakistan terrorism Donald trump world news Indian express news

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

Later that month, the administration notified Pakistan that it was delaying a payment of $255 million in military aid, pending progress against Haqqani network militants who the US says are based in Pakistan and aid the Taliban.

Nauert said, "Today, we can confirm that we are assistance - security assistance only - to Pakistan at this time".

The freeze will be enforced "until the Pakistani Government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network", she said.

The decision on security assistance came after US President Donald Trump lashed out at Pakistan in a New Year tweet, accusing the longstanding American ally of using "lies and deceit" to win US aid while harboring terrorists.

Pakistan's support for these groups must end, Washington insists. In other words, a clear cut narrative has been framed to validate punitive action against Pakistan.

Trump's first tweet of the year signaled his unhappiness over the impasse, and the country's top civilian and military leaders, in a brainstorming meeting Tuesday, said their sacrifices "could not be trivialized so heartlessly by pushing all of it behind a monetary value - and that, too, an imagined one".

He also repeated long-standing allegations that the country provides "safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan".

She added that Pakistan could review its cooperation with the USA if it is not appreciated. Speaking of US-Pakistan relations, Nauert added: "No partnership can survive a country's harboring of militants and terrorists who target USA service members and officials". However, the figure is expected to be as much as $1.3 billion.

"However, Congress and the public are concerned that Pakistan is not producing a measurable result to correlate with USA investment", the report said.

However, Heather Nauert maintained that the suspension was imposed on temporary basis as the United States wants Pakistan to fulfill its obligations and initiate a decisive action against all terrorist groups including Haqqani Network.

There have been hints of a Pakistan aid cut by the Trump administration for months. That $255 million is included in the suspended aid announced Thursday by Nauert.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said Islamabad's cooperation with Washington was not based on any aid consideration, but "on our national interests and principles".

"There are considerable risks for the US because Pakistan could retaliate in ways that would be very problematic for USA regional interests", he said, such as curtailing intelligence cooperation and US supply lines into Afghanistan.

The military aid, known as foreign military financing, "promotes the development of Pakistan's long-term [counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism] capabilities and improves Pakistan's ability to participate in maritime security operations and counter-maritime piracy", according to the State Department. It accused the US of scapegoating Pakistan for its own failure to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Also Thursday, the State Department accused Pakistan of severe violations of religious freedom. Sadiq said on Friday that "what the doing now is not good for its policy against terrorism and for a lasting peace in this region".

Drone strikes have been a frequent tactic by the U.S forces since 2004 to target suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region, mainly North and South Waziristan, which border Afghanistan.


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