The U.S. will cancel $300 million in military aid to Pakistan for not doing enough to target jihadist groups inside the country, the Pentagon confirmed Saturday.
The Trump administration indefinitely suspended nearly $1 billion from the so-called Coalition Support Fund in January, citing Pakistan’s failure to take “decisive action” against Islamic militants.
At the time of the suspension, the Pentagon said Pakistan could lift the freeze by going after Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network fighters operating within its borders, but the offer is no longer on the table.
“Due to a lack of decisive actions in support of the South Asia strategy, the remaining $300 million was reprogrammed,” Defense Department spokesperson Lieut Koné Faulkner said Saturday, according to The Guardian.
The Coalition Support Fund reimburses Pakistan’s military for counterterrorism operations, a top priority of the Trump administration’s South Asia strategy. But the Pentagon now plans to spend the $300 million on “other urgent priorities” approved by Congress, Faulkner said.
Because Congress had already stripped $500 million in coalition support funding earlier in 2018, the total amount of canceled military aid now stands at $800 million, Faulkner added.
Saturday’s announcement comes days ahead of a scheduled trip to Islamabad by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Pompeo and Dunford are set to meet with new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Kahn and other top officials to discuss security cooperation in South Asia, long a major point of contention between Washington and Islamabad.
The Trump administration says Pakistan offers sanctuary to the insurgents the U.S. has been fighting in its 17-year war in Afghanistan. President Donald Trump ripped Pakistan earlier in 2018 for offering “nothing but lies and deceit” in return for billions of dollars in security assistance.
“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help,” Trump wrote on Twitter Jan. 1. “No more!”
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
Islamabad denies that it is holding back on hunting terrorist groups, pointing to the thousands of Pakistani soldiers that have been killed fighting Islamic militants in recent years.
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