US Suspends 'Security Assistance' To Pakistan

US is losing it Pakistan

Nauert said that despite sustained high-level engagement with Pakistan's government, "the Taliban and Haqqani network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan as they plot to destabilize Afghanistan and attack US and allied personnel".

Nauert made clear the $255 million was still blocked, and the Pentagon said the new action targets payments of so-called Coalition Support Funds that the USA pays to Pakistan to reimburse it for its counterterrorism operations.

In his first tweet of the New Year, Trump said that the U.S. had given Pakistan $33 billion in aid over 15 years and accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists while making fools of United States leaders with lies and deceit.

"Today we can confirm that we are suspending national security assistance only, to Pakistan at this time until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network", State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters.

The data-indicative of worsening US-Pakistan ties-come as US President Donald Trump slammed Pakistan's "lies and deceit" for providing "safe havens" to terrorists in exchange of $33 billion worth of US aid to Islamabad.

Relations between Pakistan and the US long have been strained, and tensions have only grown since the summer, when the Trump administration announced its policy on Afghanistan and South Asia.

"Japan has firmly supported the efforts of the government of Pakistan and its people standing against terrorism", he said, adding Japan would continue to work with Pakistan with an emphasis on cooperation in the field of counterterrorism. But it could end up backfiring by diminishing the cooperation between the USA and Pakistan to combat terror groups in the region. But cutting funding to Pakistan will do little to advance USA interests in the region, analysts note.

Pakistan has fought fierce campaigns against homegrown Islamist groups, and says it has lost thousands of lives and spent billions of dollars in its long war on extremism.

Trump's frustrations are shared by USA lawmakers, who accused Pakistan of playing a double game by allowing militant groups sanctuary - which Islamabad denies - despite promising to crack down on them.

"Aid cuts will not hurt us", Pakistan's finance ministry head Miftah Ismail told Reuters. However, the figure is expected to be as much as $1.3 billion.

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Briefing reporters, USA officials stressed the suspension did not affect civilian aid to Pakistan and that the money could go through if Islamabad took decisive action against the groups.

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

Observers say Jiwani could be a pressure tactic by Pakistan as China is already developing Gwadar where earlier reports said Beijing plans to station its marines.

"The timing and nature of the Trump administration's decision are worrisome".

Also Thursday, the State Department accused Pakistan of severe violations of religious freedom.

Washington accuses Pakistan of playing a unsafe double game, taking billions in U.S. aid while supporting militants attacking its forces in Afghanistan, including the Taliban. Trump tweeted that there will be "no more" United States aid to Pakistan.

The military aid, known as foreign military financing, "promotes the development of Pakistan's long-term [counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism] capabilities and improves Pakistan's ability to participate in maritime security operations and counter-maritime piracy", according to the State Department.

"A balanced response is needed that would preserve the country's dignity while engaging with the U.S.", Sadiq said.

Prof. Lin believes if the USA and its allies push their Indo- Pacific strategy to the extreme, China will surely carry out a plan with Pakistan to ensure the security of sea routes.

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

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