Donald Trump scraps $300M Pakistan aid cash over terrorism claims

Pentagon canceling $300M in aid to Pakistan, citing record on militants: report | TheHill

The US military announced on September 1 that it planned to suspend US$300 million in aid to Islamabad for its perceived failure to take decisive action against militants that target US forces stationed in neighboring Afghanistan, news agencies reported.

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said in a statement to Reuters on Saturday that if the cuts are approved by Congress, the Pentagon aimed to spend the money on "other urgent priorities".

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.

If Congress approves the latest announced suspension, the U.S. would withhold a total of US$800 million that had earlier been earmarked for Pakistan's defense forces, the reports said. At the time, the administration said Pakistan could receive the funds if it showed it was serious about clamping down on terrorist groups. Trump in August a year ago unveiled his new South Asia policy and asked Pakistan to do more against such groups.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday said Pakistan would promote relations with the United States based on mutual trusts, respect and dignity.

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The Pentagon's remarks come ahead of a planned visit on September 5 to Islamabad by Pompeo, who will be accompanied by the top US military officer, General Joseph Dunford.

The funds were initially suspended after President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with "nothing but lies and deceit".

For over a decade, Pakistan has received CSF assistance to reimburse its military for expenditures incurred in its war against armed groups, including the Pakistani Taliban.

The reason the USA has allowed Pakistan to play this game for so long is the issue of resupplying our troops in Afghanistan. Pentagon Spokesman Kone Faulkner said the USA military will aim to spend the money on other urgent priorities before the funds expire on September 30, 2018.

USA officials had previously held out the possibility that Pakistan could win back the funding if it showed that it was taking decisive actions to root out insurgents.

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"Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy..." Mushahid Hussain noting that the money being withheld was never meant to be aid in the first place, but rather was money owed to Pakistan by the United States military for services provided during the war.

The State Department said the US government stood by its statement.

"This is not something that we were not expecting", a senior Pakistani security official told VOA on condition of anonymity, citing continued deterioration in bilateral ties.

Earlier he told the BBC Urdu that the United States in principle should pay back the money to Pakistan because it was spent for a common objective to defeat terrorism and create peace and stability.

Pompeo will face a particularly frosty welcome in Islamabad after recently counselling against an International Monetary Fund bailout for Pakistan, whose fast-depleting foreign exchange reserves threaten financial crisis, because the money might end up repaying debts owed to China. He had said Pakistan is not doing anything to stop terrorism.

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