Monday, April 1, 2019

Trump admin cancels $300M aid to Pakistan over terror record

The U.S. military said it has made a final decision to cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of not doing enough to root out militants from its border region with Afghanistan.

The proposed cuts mark a new low in what were already deteriorating relations with the United States' longtime ally.

Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said in a statement to Reuters on Saturday that if the cuts are approved by Congress, the Pentagon aimed to spend the money on "other urgent priorities."

The Coalition Support Funds — which the Pentagon is now proposing to cut — were part of a broader suspension of aid to Pakistan announced by President Donald Trump at the start of the year.

The Trump administration has claimed Islamabad is granting safe haven to militants who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighboring Afghanistan — a charge Pakistan denies. Announcing the initial suspension of funds in January, the president accused Islamabad of rewarding past U.S. aid with "nothing but lies & deceit."

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U.S. officials had previously held out the possibility that Pakistan could win back the funding if it showed that it was taking decisive actions to root out insurgents.

But a final decision was made "due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy," Faulkner told Reuters.

"The remaining $300 [million] was reprogrammed," he added.

He said the other $500 million in Coalition Support Funds was stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, to bring the total withheld to $800 million.

The chairman of Pakistan's senate foreign relations committee, Mushahid Hussain, said the proposed cuts were "a sop to India." He also claimed that the money in question was owed to Pakistan and did not constitute aid.


1 comment:

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