USA suspending security assistance to Pakistan: State Department

US paper questions Trump’s decision to suspend security aid to Pakistan

WASHINGTON-The Trump administration said it would freeze all security assistance to Pakistan until the country takes a tougher stance against terror networks on its territory, a move that reflects new tensions and could lead to problems in supplying USA troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

In his Twitter comments, Trump said Washington has received "nothing but lies and deceits" in return for giving Pakistan more than $33 billion in the last 15 years. The decision will delay - and perhaps eventually deny - pending payments to Pakistan under the State Department's Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and the reimbursement by Pentagon for logistical support in the Afghanistan war, or the Coalition Support Fund (CSF).

Expressing his concerns over the rise in Pakistan funded terrorism; US President Donald Trump had suspended all security assistance to Pakistan.

"We consider them (terror groups) to be destabilising the region and also targeting United States personnel".

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the restrictions covered security assistance above and beyond the $255 million for Pakistani purchases of American military equipment that the administration held up in August.

Meanwhile, Department of Defence Spokesperson Lt Col Mike Andrews told that National Defense Authorisation Act 2017 provides up to $ 900 million for Pakistan in the CSF. Earlier Thursday, Mattis said the policy on military aid to Pakistan was "still being formulated". "But I'll give my advice on it to the President".

It also said that public and private sectors were free to choose the Chinese currency for bilateral trade and investment activities. The deadline for that is September 30 this year. Mattis had travelled to Pakistan last month for talks with the top Pakistani leadership. So, this action should not come as a surprise to them, Nauert said. "....this is something that I really want to reiterate: Everything that we're talking about is reversible", a State Department official, speaking on background, said.

"Pakistan never fought for money but for peace", army spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor told VOA.

"So they know exactly what it is that we've asked of them", the official added.

Pakistan has long rejected accusations that it fails to tackle the militants battling the Kabul government and US -led foreign forces in Afghanistan, from sanctuaries on its side of the border.

Terrorists continue to operate freely inside Pakistan and there is a relationship between terrorist organisations and the Pakistani establishment, he said.

Trump's new policy, the official said, is driven by the his desire to have a successful strategy in Afghanistan.

Now, the money that has been suspended at this time does not mean that it will be suspended forever, she said.

"We have not done anything that's irreversible here".

The paper in a detailed report from Washington reported that Pakistanis do not disagree with the basic thrust of the American argument but they have one major worry: What if it fails?

In its editorial titled 'Pakistan, the Endlessly Troublesome Ally", the NYT suggested the administration to "harness his new friendships with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to shut down Haqqani and other Taliban fund-raising efforts in the Persian Gulf'.

Moreover, the majority of attacks and fatalities in Afghanistan take place in areas along the global boundary that separates the nation from Pakistan. Pakistan could shut down American access at any moment, and some Pakistani officials are threatening to do just that'. "Exceptions may be made on a case by case basis if they're determined to be critical for national security interests", the official said, adding that this suspension is not a permanent cut off at this time.

Unlike Mr Mattis, the official acknowledged that Islamabad could cut off supply routes to Afghanistan but insisted that "unless we deal with the Pakistan sanctuary issue, it will undermine all of our other efforts in Afghanistan".

This suspension includes FMF 2016 ($255 million) as well as prior year FMF that has not yet been spent or delivered.

Pakistan has long accused the USA of being a fickle ally. None of the $900 million as so far been disbursed, the Pentagon said.

At the State Department briefing, officials indicated that Washington could make "exemptions" for programmes deemed vital to U.S. national security. "Pakistan shall continue its honest efforts in [the] best interest of Pakistan and peace", the army spokesman said. "All this funding is available to Pakistan, if they undertake to take the measures that we've asked of them", one official said.

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