Friday, 17 August, 2018

U.S. also freezes $2b in military assistance to Pakistan

Afghan refugees Afghan refugees
Ray Hunter | 07 January, 2018, 02:26

The decision, which was announced Thursday, is meant to pressure Pakistan to help US foreign policy priorities like clamping down on the Taliban in Afghanistan. But at this time, it prefers to cooperate with Pakistan and is hopeful about it.

Currently, the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation depend on Pakistan for logistical support for their operations in Afghanistan, a key part of fighting terrorism.

However, as Trump indicated when he unveiled his South Asia strategy in August, putting pressure on Pakistan was his pound of flesh in return for agreeing to a troop increase in Afghanistan.

The US President Donald Trump last week criticized Pakistan in strong words for harboring the terrorist groups despite receiving billions in aid to support the counter-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan.

Pakistan never utilised resources in war on terror for money but for regional peace. The president points out that the USA has provided more than $33 billion in aid over the past 15 years. It is unclear exactly how much additional funding will be cut after Thursday's announcement. USA aid agencies alone gave nearly $5 million to Pakistan in 2017, according to data from USAID.

The White House official has clearly disagreed that United States dumped Pakistan along with Pakistan's allegations of USA speaking India's language of India. USA civilian and military assistance for Pakistan has dropped from an average of over $2.2 billion a year during the period immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks to an estimated $526 million in 2017. But cutting funding to Pakistan will do little to advance US interests in the region, analysts note.

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The White House is demanding Pakistan crack down on Taliban elements and other groups that raise funds and take refuge in the border areas with Afghanistan.

A day after the U.S. government suspended almost $2 billion security-related assistance to Pakistan, President Donald Trump expressed public support for a Republican senator's plan to introduce legislation, cancelling all aid to the country over its continued refusal to take tangible action against terrorists.

"Though the government of Pakistan has been considered America's ally in the fight on terrorism, Pakistan's behavior would suggest otherwise".

"The timing and nature of the Trump administration's decision are worrisome. Is he freezing the funds for legitimate reasons, or is he doing it because he didn't like how Pakistan officials replied to his initial tweet about them?"

"Good idea Rand!" Trump wrote on Twitter Friday night, retweeting a post by Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky, from earlier, saying, "I'm introducing a bill to end aid to Pakistan in the coming days".

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