Wednesday, 17 January, 2018

After Trump tweet, Pakistan talks of 'response' to United States action

Pakistan       by Mahmood Idrees | Published Pakistan by Mahmood Idrees | Published
Lillian Steele | 05 January, 2018, 13:43

Nauert told reporters that the suspension will remain in effect until Pakistan "takes decisive action" against groups, such as the Taliban, that are "destabilizing the region and targeting USA personnel".

Thursday's announcement was in addition to the $255 million in foreign military assistance that the Trump administration in August said it was withholding, she said.

WASHINGTON-The Trump administration said it would freeze all security assistance to Pakistan until the country takes a tougher stance against terror networks on its territory, a move that reflects new tensions and could lead to problems in supplying US troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

The decision to cut funding comes just several days after President Donald Trump tweeted his disappointment with Pakistan, claiming that the US got nothing but "lies and deceit" for the $33 billion in aid the USA gave Pakistan between 2002 and 2018.

The U.S. State Department announced the decision, saying it reflected the Trump administration's frustration that Pakistan has not done more against the two groups, which have long used sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks in neighbouring Afghanistan that have killed U.S., Afghan and other forces. "No more". Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in response to Donald Trump's tweet said that Pakistan was not anxious as it had already refused to "do more" for the US.

This is not the first time the US has cut assistance to Pakistan.

India, who for decades has accused Pakistan of being a state-sponsor of terrorism, welcomed Trump's tweet.

But US officials accuse Islamabad of ignoring or even collaborating with groups that attack Afghanistan from safe havens along the border between the two countries.

"We are hoping that Pakistan will see this as an incentive, not a punishment", he added.

The financial aid started flowing soon after the 9/11 attacks on NY and Washington, following 11 years of sanctions over Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. I was asked for comments by IndiaTimesNow but got thoroughly disappointed by my curt reply that, 'Pakistan is quite used to ups and downs in its relationship with United States of America, but mercifully it has got out of the U.S. magic spell, and it no more yearns for US aid, and that it is now India's turn, which is in the tight embrace of USA, to face the music. The country received more than $1 billion in USA assistance in 2016.

"They want to apply graduated pressure to Pakistan to change its policy, rather than abandon it altogether", security analyst Hasan Askari said.

The United States has been threatening for months to cut aid to Islamabad over its failure to crack down on groups such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, which it says operates from bases in Pakistan's northwest.

The US aid to Pakistan in 2012 dropped by as much as $521 million to $1.82 billion.

It said that Pakistan believed that its cooperation with United States in fighting terrorism directly served U.S. national security interests as well as the larger interests of the worldwide community.

The $255 million now being withheld is annual military aid that the United States still provides directly to Pakistan in return for fighting terrorism.

Earlier on Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson placed Pakistan on a "Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom".

"It's north of $255 million", said one US official.

Prof. Lin believes if the USA and its allies push their Indo- Pacific strategy to the extreme, China will surely carry out a plan with Pakistan to ensure the security of sea routes.

Bilateral relations became increasingly fraught since the U.S. special-forces raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that led killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden in May 2011.

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