Saturday, 30 December 2017

US may withhold $255 million Pakistan aid over handling of terror groups

The Trump administration may withhold $225 million in government aid to Pakistan over frustration with the country's handling of terror groups within its borders.

As per a The New York Times report,  US was strongly considering whether to withhold the aid according to American officials. This is apparently in a show of dissatisfaction over Pakistan’s attitude in confronting the terrorist networks that operate on their soil.

A final decision is expected to come in the next few weeks, officials said. They did not detail what conditions Pakistan would have to meet to receive the aid.

Senior administration officials met in December 2017, to decide what to do about the money, the report further said.

Raising pressure on Pakistan, US President Donald Trump in August 2017, unveiled a new US strategy for the war in Afghanistan aimed at defeating the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network, an affiliated group that operates in Pakistan.

Trump at the time had said Pakistan "gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror" and vowed the administration would be tougher on the country.

The US President again singled out Pakistan for criticism when he announced his national security strategy in December 2017. "We make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help," he had said.

Vice President Mike Pence had also reinforced that message in a visit to Afghanistan just before Christmas, telling cheering American troops that "President Trump has put Pakistan on notice".

In July 2017, Defence Secretary James Mattis had previously stalled a $50 million aid package to Pakistan by withholding a certification that Pakistan had done enough to fight the Haqqani Network.

The certification is required by Congress for the yearly military grant made to Pakistan, a nation classified as a major non-NATO US ally.

Pakistan "did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or (the Haqqani Network) or substantially limit their ability to threaten US interests in Afghanistan," an annual State Department report on terrorism had stated.

A State Department official said Pakistan's actions will ultimately determine the course of "security assistance in the future". 

No comments:

Post a Comment