USA withholds $50 million military reimbursement to Pakistan

Violet Powell
July 23, 2017

While many analysts believe that a tougher line on Pakistan for its connections to the Haqqani Network will be part of the administration's new strategy for Afghanistan and the wider region, the Pentagon said that Friday's announcement was unrelated to the wider review.

In what could be the blow for Pakistan is US has chose to block $350mn payable to Pakistan towards coalition support after it has been convinced that Pakistan has not taken enough steps to eliminate Haqqani Terror Network.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told Congress that Islamabad hadn't "taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network" - a group closely related to the Afghan Taliban. Since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Washington has often made pledges to put more pressure on Pakistan to help stem the tide of fighters moving back and forth between the two countries.

There was about $50 million remaining in the funds, which will now be repurposed the Pentagon said.

Of the $900 million originally marked for Pakistan, $550 has already been disbursed.

"[The Coalition Support Fund] is just one component of the United States' broad and enduring partnership with Pakistan", Stump said. Last year, the Pentagon withheld $300 million.

The Haqqani Network, which is based in Pakistan, is considered among the most effective and deadly offshoots of the Taliban.

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Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said allegations of interference and other accusations were "an obvious lie". President Donald Trump's son a year ago , Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.

"We'll see", Trump responded when asked whether he would deploy additional troops to the country where Americans have been fighting since a month after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The terror group is also blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people. With the secretary's decision, there is no additional FY16 CSF available to Pakistan.

The U.S. won't give Pakistan $50 million in military reimbursements because the State Department claims the country is a "safe haven" for terrorist groups.

The two officials arrive at a pivotal time as the Trump administration deliberates its military and diplomatic strategy in Afghanistan, after almost 17 years of war.

The decision comes as US President Donald Trump's administration is exploring potentially hardening its approach toward Pakistan to crack down on militants launching strikes in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Pentagon spokesman Stump said the decision did not "reduce the significance of the sacrifices that the Pakistani military has undertaken over previous years".

According to the report, "Pakistan did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or Haqqani, or substantially limit their ability to threaten U.S. interests in Afghanistan, although Pakistan supported efforts to bring both groups into an Afghan-led peace process".

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