USA suspends security aid to Pakistan over militant groups

The report said Pakistan can halt American access to Afghanistan at any time

Srinagar-The U.S. failed to behave as an ally and turned Islamabad into a "whipping boy" for its own shortcomings in Afghanistan, Pakistan's foreign minister said, after the Trump administration suspended security-related aid to the country. The official from Trump Administration further added, "Certainly no one should doubt the USA resolve to address this threat and all options I would say will be on the table". The suspended amount include US$ 255 million in the Foreign Military Funding (FMF) for the fiscal year 2016 as mandated by Congress.

Now, the Defense Department has been instructed to stop making payments from "coalition support funds" set aside to refund Pakistani spending on counter-terrorist operations. In addition, the Department of Defence has suspended other unspent money from previous fiscal years.

The suggestion of cutting all funding to Pakistan, a long-time ally with a history of uneasy relations with the USA, runs counter to the message White House officials were putting out earlier in the day.

"We've sent Pakistan $33 billion since 2002".

The Pentagon sought Friday to downplay such concerns, but Trump administration officials admit that is a risk, and say there have been some preliminary talks with other allies in the region about providing lethal aid to coalition forces. But nobody should doubt our resolve in trying to address these threats.

Pakistan is believed to have told United States 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 today.

Pakistanis protest in Karachi to condemn a tweet from Donald Trump in which he said the USA has "foolishly" handed the country $33 billion in aid. "But we do have options that we're considering".

Washington said Thursday that security assistance to Islamabad was on hold until the Pakistani government took "decisive action" against terror groups on its territory, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. ".that will allow the relationship to return to a more positive trajectory", the official said. But the relationship has grown more contentious since 2011, when U.S. Special Forces killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a raid in the military garrison town of Abbottabad.

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Asked if he believed the civilian government was capable of assisting United States counterterrorism efforts in the region, Mr Mattis said: "I would say the Pakistan government is capable of doing what we're trying to do together, yes".

"Pakistan has the ability to get this money back, in the future, but they have to take decisive action. All this funding is available to Pakistan, if they undertake to take the measures that we've asked of them", a senior administration official said in response to a question.

USA assistance to Pakistan, which rose sharply after the 9/11 attacks, has been declining since 2011 when American commandos killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, straining relations.

The United States said on Thursday it was suspending at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan until it takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network militant groups. None of the $900 million as so far been disbursed, the Pentagon said.

Mattis along with the secretary of state Rex Tillerson have travelled to Pakistan in recent months to deliver tough message to their leadership. "There's a campaign plan now that starts regionally". While the current U.S. administration has certainly adopted a harsh tone against Pakistan, both Bush and Obama administrations have also kept demanding that Pakistan needed to "do more" in the Global War on Terrorism (GWoT), and they remained perpetually suspicious of our role of "running with the hare and hunting with the hound". "Effects of action against the Haqqani network will be visible in due time", he said.

The New York Times said Pakistan had played a double game by accepting American funding while backing militants who protect Pakistani interests in Afghanistan and Kashmir, but Trump administration can not afford to walk away from the country. He would also have to keep in mind that Pakistan has the world's fastest-growing nuclear arsenal, which has always been a matter of regional and global concern.

Pakistan was engaged with the US administration on security cooperation and awaited further detail, it said.

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