Seeking help with Afghanistan, US holds up $255M to Pakistan

Army called in to assist civil administration in rain affected areas in Karachi

State Department officials said on August 31 that the funds won't be released from an escrow account until the United States sees that Pakistan is moving against the Afghan Taliban and allied groups like the Haqqani network that US intelligence agencies say have resided for years withinPakistan's borders. USA officials worry that if Pakistan becomes an active foe, it could further destabilise Afghanistan and endanger us soldiers.

"We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond", Trump said. "That will have to change". Pakistani army chief Lieutenant General Bajwa said that Pakistan did not want American cash but rather that it demanded respect for its sacrifices in the War on Terror that it was dragged into after 9/11.

After President Trump accused Islamabad of harbouring militants, China defended Pakistan's "important role" in Afghanistan.

Stressing that the USA would allow it to review the level of its cooperation with Islamabad before making new commitments, the State Department said, "Consistent with our new South Asia strategy, this decision allows us the flexibility to continue reviewing our level of cooperation with Pakistan prior to committing new security assistance resources to projects in Pakistan".

UN Atomic Agency: Iran Complying With Nuclear Deal
Although Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany also signed on to the pact, Iran and the United States were the key players. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani later said the U.S. call was unlikely to be accepted by the IAEA.

To Pakistan's alarm, Trump also floated the possibility of inviting India - Pakistan's archrival - to get more involved in Afghanistan unless Pakistan is more cooperative. The administration is telling Congress it will use the money, but is putting a "pause" on spending it.

The Trump administration will withhold more than $250 million in promised aid to Pakistan, U.S. officials told the Associated Press.

Like most Muslim countries, Afghanistan is celebrating Eid on Friday while in Pakistan it will be celebrated on Saturday. The point justifiably raised by NSA that Pakistan's nuclear programme is wrongly linked with terrorism also needs to be responded to by the other side as this creates a lot of resentment among people of Pakistan, who, rightly or wrongly, are convinced that the ultimate objective of the United States was to deprive Pakistan of its nuclear capability and assets.

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