US suspends over USD 1.1 bn assistance to Pak

US suspends over USD 1.1 bn assistance to Pak

Toughening its stance, the US today suspended more than USD 1.15 billion security assistance to Pakistan for failing to take "decisive actions" against terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network operating from its soil.

The freezing of all security assistance to Pakistan comes after President Donald Trump in a New Year's Day tweet accused Pakistan of giving nothing to the US but "lies and deceit" and providing "safe haven" to terrorists in return for USD 33 billion aid over the last 15 years.

The suspended amount also include USD 255 million in Foreign Military Funding (FMF) for the fiscal year 2016 as mandated by the Congress.

In addition, the Department of Defense has suspended the entire USD 900 million of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) money to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2017 and other unspent money from previous fiscal years.

"Today we can confirm that we are suspending national security assistance only, to Pakistan at this time until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters.

"We consider them (terror groups) to be destabilising the region and also targeting US personnel. The US will suspend that kind of security assistance to Pakistan," she said.

The US, she said, will not be delivering military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan unless it is required by law.

Department of Defence Spokesperson Lt Col Mike Andrews said that National Defense Authorisation Act 2017 provides up to USD 900 million for Pakistan in the CSF.

Of these funds, USD 400 million can only be released if the Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis certifies that the Pakistan government has taken specific actions against the Haqqani Network.

"At this stage all Fiscal Year 17 CSF have been suspended, so that's the entire amount of USD 900 million," Andrews said.

Mattis along with the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have travelled to Pakistan in recent months to deliver tough message to the leadership there. So, this action should not come as a surprise to them, Nauert said.

"People have long asked, why don't you do more about Pakistan, and I think this sort of answers that question. Obviously, Pakistan is important, an important relationship to the US, because together we can work hard to combat terrorism. Perhaps no other country has suffered more from terrorism than Pakistan and many other countries in that part of the region," she said.

"They understand that, but still they aren't taking the steps that they need to take in order to fight terrorism," she said.

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