US will also continue to suspend $255 million in foreign military financing
The United States suspended at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan until it takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network militant groups.
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.
According to US officials, two main categories of aid are affected: foreign military financing (FMF), which funds purchases of US military hardware, training and services, and coalition support funds (CSF), which reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism operations.
The US also freeze $255 million in FMF for the fiscal year 2016, which falls under State Department authority and whose suspension has already been announced, as well as unspecified amounts of FMF that went unspent in earlier fiscal years.
But according to US department spokesman who told the reporters that the suspension did not affect civilian aid to Pakistan and hoped that Pakistan will see this as an incentive, not a punishment.
A senior Pakistani senator expressed disappointment in reaction to the U.S. decision, saying it will hurt relations between the two countries.
Trump’s frustrations are shared by some US lawmakers, who accused Pakistan of playing a double game by allowing militant groups sanctuary – which Islamabad denies – despite promising to crack down on them.
Tense ties between the uneasy allies nosedived on Jan 1 when US President Donald Trump lashed out on Twitter against Islamabad’s “lies and deceit” despite US$33 billion in aid and the White House warned of “specific actions” to pressure Pakistan.
South Asia expert Christine Fair of Georgetown University voiced concern that Pakistan might retaliate for the suspension by closing the highways from the port city of Karachi on which equipment is trucked to land-locked Afghanistan and the airspace through which supplies are flown to US-led international forces there.