USA could freeze up to $2 billion in aid to Pakistan

09 January, 2018, 01:02 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath PTI file

It is "approximately two billion worth of equipment and coalition support funding that is in play", the official said on condition of anonymity.

The rise in anti-American sentiments in Pakistan appears to be conflating with the perception of China as a more reliable ally.

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 key element in the new United States strategy for Afghanistan is to launch a two-pronged military offensive that inflicts a military defeat on the Taliban and forces them to join the Afghan reconciliation process on Kabul's conditions, diplomatic sources told Dawn News.

USA officials have already indicated that there could be "exemptions" for programs deemed vital to U.S. national security - likely including cash for keeping Pakistan's nuclear weapons safe.

But nevertheless, the total figure of $1.9 billion is much higher than first indicated and is a signal of Washington's seriousness.

"Our hope is that they will see this as a further indication of this administration's vast frustration with the trajectory of our relationship and that they need to be serious about taking the steps we have asked in order to put it on more solid footing", a senior State Department official told reporters. "But at this time that's what is suspended", the official said.

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. Since the Afghan people-who are now deeply, understandably hostile to Pakistan and favorable toward India-will never vote such a government into power, the next best outcome for Pakistan is to ensure the government and the country are divided and unstable. -Pakistani cooperation for winning the release of a Canadian-American family held for five years by militants from the Haqqani network - a Taliban faction that stages attacks in Afghanistan.

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"Pakistan could be within their rights if they tell us you don't have flyover rights anymore", she said. The step does not carry any serious consequences, although it could lead to sanctions if Pakistan is further relegated to a USA list of "countries of particular concern". "Stop sending your hard-earned tax dollars to Pakistan". "The global community should acknowledge that", said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, calling China and Pakistan "all weather partners". But it could end up backfiring by diminishing the cooperation between the US and Pakistan to combat terror groups in the region.

"We don't need any type of aid". Not that past US Presidents were, in Trump's description, "foolish".

Briefing reporters, USA officials stressed the suspension did not affect civilian aid to Pakistan and that the money could go through if Islamabad took decisive action against the groups.

"Arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements and shifting goalposts are counterproductive in addressing common threats", Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday.

Pakistan is believed to have told U.S. interlocutors that a major military offensive against the Taliban from both sides of the Afghan border, if failed, will have negative consequences for the entire region, according to a media report on Monday. This year's fighting season will begin again within months. The US also suspended the transfer of military equipment and other funds to Islamabad.

The move, which United States officials had hinted at for months, was greeted optimistically in Afghanistan.

"We have been saying for years that neighboring Pakistan is providing safe haven to terrorist groups, and they were also funding the terrorist groups", Nasrat Rahim, deputy interior ministry spokesman, told reporters in Kabul.

On Thursday, the US State Department also tweeted that it has placed deeply conservative Muslim Pakistan on a special watch list for severe violations of religious freedom.

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