In a new blow to the deteriorating ties between US and Pakistan, the US military said that it has made a final decision to cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan over Islamabad’s perceived failure to take decisive action against militants.
The Pentagon has sought Congressional determination to reprogram USD 300 million of its Congressional Support Fund (CSF) for Pakistan. The Pentagon cited Islamabad's 'lack of decisive actions' in support of the South Asian Strategy as the main reason behind its decision.
"Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, the remaining USD 300M (actually USD323.6 million to include non-Pakistan funds) was reprogrammed by DoD in the June/July 2018 time frame for other urgent priorities before the funds expire on September 30, 2018," Pentagon Spokesman Koné Faulkner told PTI.
With this, the Department of Defence (DoD) has reprogrammed USD 800 million CSF destined for Pakistan. This is because US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has refused to give the necessary certification to the Congress that Pakistan has taken strong steps against terrorist groups like the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
"This is not a new decision or a new announcement," Faulkner told PTI in response to a question.
"In 2018, the DoD Appropriations Act, published on March 23, 2018, you can find the verbiage detailing USD 500M was rescinded by Congress upon the 2018 DoD Appropriations Act's passage (page 161), which is all public,” he said.
"We continue to press Pakistan to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups, including the Haqqani Network and LET in the region,” Faulkner said.
The Department of Defence is awaiting congressional determination on whether this reprogramming request will be approved or denied.
Pentagon will have a congressional response before September 30, to allow it to implement the reprogramming actions, he said.
The announcement comes just days before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to visit Pakistan to meet the country's new prime minister, Imran Khan.
In January, the US government announced it was cutting almost all security aid to the country.
The US and others have long complained that Pakistan provides a safe haven to militant networks, allowing them to carry out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. However, the US' claims have been strongly denied by Pakistan.