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Pentagon to cancel $300 million aid to Pakistan for its failure to curb Islamist terror

In yet another setback for Pakistan, the Pentagon has sought the US Congress to reprogram $300 million of its Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for Pakistan because of Pakistan’s failure to act decisively in support of the US South Asia Strategy.

The United States has been pushing Pakistan for a long time now, to crack down on safe havens for terrorists operating inside the country. It had also announced a freeze on the aid at the beginning of the year, which is reported to be worth almost $2 billion.

The US believes that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and other terrorist groups have been influential in the region. The White House believes that ISI has been providing support through the supply of arms and funds to terrorists not only for ideological reasons, but also to counter the rising Indian influence in Afghanistan.

Jim Mattis, the Defence Secretary has refused to give any necessary certification to the Congress for authorisation of these funds, as the US believes that Pakistan has failed to take any concrete measures against terrorist groups like Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba.

“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, the remaining $300 million (actually $323.6 million to include non-Pakistan funds) was reprogrammed by DoD in the June/July 2018 time frame for other urgent priorities before the funds expire on September 30, 2018,” Pentagon Spokesman Kone Faulkner told PTI.

“This is not a new decision or a new announcement. In 2018, the DoD Appropriations Act, published on March 23, 2018, you can find the verbiage detailing $500M was rescinded by Congress upon the 2018 DoD Appropriations Act’s passage which is all public,” he said. He further added that the United States would continue to press Pakistan to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups, including the Haqqani Network and LET in the region.

Since Donald Trump took over as the President of the United States, it has been more aggressive in its approach towards South Asia, especially Pakistan. The Trump administration has started substantially cutting down the aid Pakistan used to receive under its Coalition Support Fund (CSF). Earlier in August, the Trump administration had suspended more than a decade-long military training programme of Pakistani personnel at US institutions.

Reportedly, Pakistan has received more than $33 billion as assistance from the United States since 2002, of which it has received $14 billion alone in the form of CSF, a US Defence Department to reimburse allies who have supported the US in counterinsurgency operations.

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