tiptrot.com March 19, 2018

United States could freeze up to $2 billion in aid to Pakistan

08 January 2018, 12:54 | Bernice Figueroa

Asif considers Pak alliance with US 'over'

President Trump sent out morning tweets about Pakistan and Iran on New Year's Day and the move by the State Department appears to be an attempt to substantiate those

With the gloves now off it must be noted that none of the monies earmarked for coalition support funding in the 2017 fiscal year has been paid to Pakistan - what you never had you do not miss. These developments pushed Pakistan away from the USA war efforts in the neighbouring country and brought it closer to China.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told reporters on Tuesday that "The administration is withholding $255 million in assistance to Pakistan".

Have U.S. -Pakistan relations always been this fraught?

At least one influential Pakistani politician seems to be taking the Trump administration seriously.

However, the US war with Afghanistan created some complicated politics for Pakistan.

But Pakistan quickly became an important military asset. It accused the US of scapegoating Pakistan for its own failure to bring peace to Afghanistan. "We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting".

The Bush and Obama administrations expressed frustration with Pakistan, suggesting that the country had not done enough to help eradicate terrorism.

On New Year's Day, President Donald Trump had noted on Twitter that the United States had "foolishly" given Pakistan over $33 billion in aid over the past 15 years, adding that Islamabad gives "safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help". "That will have to change and that will change immediately".

The Trump administration is rightly signaling to Islamabad that "business as usual" has come to an end.

Still, the United States continues to assert that Pakistan harbours terrorists, asking it to "clamp down on sanctuaries used by the two militant groups to plan attacks, collect weapons, and allow fighters to recuperate".

She did not reveal the exact amount of this aid and said that she couldn't reveal the figure as the administration was still calculating the amount. In an article published on the website of Gatestone Institute, an worldwide policy council and think tank in New York, Islamabad-based journalist Kaswar Klasra has said that ISIS will continue to carry out attacks, itself or through other outfits such as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the Taliban, unless Pakistan takes them to task, reported ANI. Afghan officials have long accused Pakistan's powerful military and intelligence service of maintaining influence with the Taliban and the Haqqani network, responsible for many attacks on Afghan cities. They note, too, that they've been victims of terrorist attacks.

There has been no official statement about the meeting, neither has there been any response from the Indian government on the U.S. announcement about suspension of military assistance to Pakistan.

Similar to how an NYT story on Sunday claimed that Trump cannot bear to sever the linkages with its "longtime" ally Pakistan - which could pave way for even better Sino-Pak relations - BMI Research said in its Friday report the U.S. decision "will likely accelerate Pakistan's geopolitical drift towards China". Opposition politician Imran Khan went one step further, calling on Pakistan to "immediately remove" USA diplomatic and intelligence personnel.

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