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Freezing ‘security assistance’

The United States said 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.

The US State Department announced the decision, saying it reflected the Trump administration’s frustration that Pakistan has not done more against the two groups. The department declined to say exactly how much aid would be suspended, saying the numbers were still being calculated and included funding from both the State and Defence departments.

According to a report, US officials said two main categories of aid are affected: foreign military financing, which funds purchases of US military hardware, training and services, and coalition support funds, which reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism operations. They said they could make exceptions to fund critical US national security priorities. CSF funds, which fall under Defence Department authority, are covered by the freeze, said Pentagon spokesman Commander Patrick Evans, saying Congress authorised up to $900 million in such money for Pakistan for fiscal year 2017, which ended September 30. None of that money has yet been disbursed.

The freeze also covers $255 million in FMF for 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.

Briefing reporters, US officials stressed the suspension did not affect civilian aid to Pakistan and that the money could go through if Islamabad took decisive action against the groups.

Foreign office in a statement said Pakistan was engaged with the US Administration on the issue of security cooperation. “Impact of US’ decision on pursuit of common objectives is also likely to emerge more clearly in due course of time. It, however, needs to be appreciated that Pakistan has fought the war against terrorism largely from its own resources which has cost over $120 billion in 15 years. We are determined to continue to do all it takes to secure the lives of our citizens and broader stability in the region”, it added. The US decision to freeze security assistance to Pakistan reflects its stubbornness and rude attitude. This hostile approach of US administration regarding Pakistan is detrimental for the regional peace and stability. Pakistan may retaliate and can stop its support to US in ongoing war against terrorism in Afghanistan. Pakistan has received great physical and monetary loss in war against terrorism and US security assistance was a peanut. Pakistan’s great contribution for regional and global peace must be acknowledged. United States and Pakistan should take steps for repairing their ties and move forward for the resolution of longstanding Afghan problem.

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