ISLAMABAD, Pakistan/WASHINGTON, United States of America: The United States military has its final decision on the matter as it cancels $300m in aid to Pakistan citing Islamabad’s failure to “do more” against banned outfits and armed groups allegedly operating from with its territory, the Pentagon says.
The Coalition Support Funds were part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by President Donald Trump at the start of the year, when he accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with “nothing but lies and deceit”.
The Trump administration accuses Islamabad of granting safe haven to selected banned outfits who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighboring Afghanistan, a charge that Pakistan denies.
On the other hand, Pakistan says the US is just trying to shift blame on the country for its clear failure in Afghanistan. Pakistan believes the Afghanistan ‘War on Terror’ is just another failure on the States’ behalf like the Vietnam War and the Iraq War.
“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, the remaining $300m was reprogrammed,” Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said on Saturday.
“We continue to press Pakistan to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups,” said Faulkner before adding that the aid amount would be used on “other urgent priorities” following Congress’ approval.
A Pakistani official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he was unaware of a formal notification of the US decision on assistance but said one was expected by the end of September, according to media reports.
The announcement came just weeks after Pakistan’s newly elected prime minister Imran Khan took office.
Khan has repeatedly blamed Pakistan’s participation in the US-led “anti-terror campaign” for the surge in attacks on home soil over the last decade and has vowed to rebalance Islamabad’s relationship with Washington.
The disclosure also comes just days ahead of an expected visit to Islamabad by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the top US military officer, General Joseph Dunford.
Just over a week ago, a telephone conversation between Pompeo and Khan stirred up controversy, with Islamabad calling Washington’s account of the discussion “factually incorrect”.
Pakistan Foreign Office refuted the US statement which said “Pompeo raised the importance of Pakistan taking decisive action against all terrorists operating in Pakistan”.
“The impression that has been given in their press release, which mentions terrorists operating in Pakistan, is in contrast with reality. And I say this with full confidence,” said Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.