US Freezes $900mln in Security Assistance to Pakistan
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The Pentagon announced Monday it was suspending nearly $1 billion in security assistance to Pakistan.
Speaking to reporters, Pentagon spokesperson Col. Rob Manning said the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2017 provided up to $900 million for Pakistan in Coalition Support Funds, or CSF.
“That amount has been suspended, not cancelled or reprogrammed, as we continue to hope that Pakistan will take decisive action against the terrorist and militant groups that we seek,” Manning said, Anadolu Agency reported.
Describing the US’s expectation from Pakistan as “straightforward”, Manning said the leadership of terror groups such as the Taliban and the Haqqani Network and attack planners should no longer be able to find safe havens or conduct operations from Pakistan.
Manning said the US would continue to negotiate and cooperate with the Pakistani government.
“We stand ready to work together with Pakistan to combat terrorist groups without distinction,” he said.
Tensions between Washington and Islamabad have risen since President Donald Trump said on Twitter last week that the US had “foolishly” given billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of providing safe havens to terrorists fighting in Afghanistan.
Pakistan pushed back, saying the US needs to show more appreciation after Islamabad has fought terrorism “largely from its own resources” which it said cost over $120 billion in 15 years.
Pakistan’s foreign minister said Friday the US has failed to act as an ally and has turned Islamabad into a “whipping boy” for its own shortcomings in Afghanistan.
“We do not have any alliance with the United States," Khawaja Muhammad Asif said in an interview with local media. “This is not how allies behave.”
The US last week also placed Pakistan on a special watch list for “severe violations of religious freedom”.
Pakistan said the report was "not objective" and would seek clarification from the US regarding its rationale and implications for being put on the list.
"The designation overlooks the significant achievements of Pakistan in the area of human rights," it said.