U.S. announces suspension of security assistance to Pakistan

07 January, 2018, 08:59 | Author: Leticia Riley
  • You carried out 57,800 attacks on Afghanistan from our bases’ Pakistan foreign minister tells US

The frequency of suspected USA drone attacks near the Pakistani-Afghan border has increased notably since Trump introduced his Afghanistan strategy in August.

In a seething series of tweets, Pakistan's foreign minister ripped into Trump's accusation that Islamabad has double-crossed the United States in Afghanistan, noting that Pakistan "went through a bloodbath" after "blindly" trusting Washington.

The White House warning came after the USA ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told reporters in NY that "there are clear reasons" for the Trump administration to withhold $255 million in assistance to Pakistan.

Pakistan has "contributed and sacrificed the most in fighting worldwide terrorism", alleged Lodhi, noting that Islamabad's role in the war against jihadist groups is not contingent upon US aid but, rather, "national interests and principles".

India on Monday said that it stood vindicated as US President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of doing nothing to fight terrorists despite receiving a whopping $ 33 billion aid in the past 15 years. "They work with us at times, and they also harbor the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan".

"There are considerable risks for the USA because Pakistan could retaliate in ways that would be very problematic for US regional interests", he said, such as curtailing intelligence co-operation and USA supply lines into Afghanistan.

As part of the "fight-to-win" strategy Trump called on Islamabad to cut support for militants who find a haven along the Afghan border and warned Pakistan would have "much to lose" if it did not comply. Last week, Pakistan's military warned the USA against taking unilateral action against armed groups within its borders, fueling more concerns that Trump's approach is only stoking tensions with a country that is generally a useful ally.

A larger security-related payment was $14.5 billion paid to Pakistan from Coalition Support Funds (CSF), which the CRS paper argued, was not assistance but reimbursement for logistical and operational support of US-led military operations; "it is technically not foreign assistance".

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Describing Pakistan as an independent nuclear power, the defense minister said it was not possible for Washington to dictate terms to Islamabad by withholding aid, and warned the USA against any attempt to bring the war in Afghanistan to Pakistan's soil.

Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan echoed Asif's defiant tone during an interview on Thursday, vowing a "cold-blooded response" to Washington's stated intention to withhold $255 million in aid to Pakistan, as cited by RIA Novosti.

He tweeted: "We will respond to President Trump's tweet shortly inshallah".

"Trump is not the first president to be frustrated by Pakistan".

"We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond", he said in a speech.

On Wednesday, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi offered to "review [our] cooperation [with the United States] if it is not appreciated". But longtime ally China on Tuesday defended Islamabad and called on the global community to "fully acknowledge" Pakistani counterterrorism efforts.

"China and Pakistan are all-weather partners".

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