Pentagon cancels aid to Pakistan over record on militants

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WASHINGTON-The Pentagon said it suspended $300 million in military aid to Pakistan, accusing it of not doing enough to tackle militant groups, in a move certain to heighten tensions between the two countries ahead of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit this week to Islamabad.

"Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining $300 [million] was reprogrammed", Pentagon spokesperson Lt. -Col.

"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools", Trump wrote on Twitter at the beginning of the year.

Mr. Faulkner noted that the 2018 Department of Defence (DoD) Appropriations Act, published on March 23, details $500 million was rescinded by the Congress.

Pentagon spokesman Koné Faulkner said Saturday that the agency suspend the funding to the Coalition Support Fund, which reimburses Pakistan's military for fighting against terrorists.

Mr. Faulkner said since January, the USA has consistently engaged with Pakistani military officials at the highest levels, based on both a shared commitment to defeat all terrorist groups that threaten regional stability and security, as well as on a shared vision of a peaceful future for Afghanistan.

The chairman of Pakistan's senate foreign relations committee, Mushahid Hussain, said the proposed cuts were "a sop to India".

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The Trump administration has given a major shock to Pakistan.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that though expected, the decision had still irked Islamabad as Pakistan wanted to keep the "atmosphere healthy" before Pompeo's visit. In May, US President Donald Trump announced that the US would withdraw from the agreement.

The US has the largest share of votes at the International Monetary Fund. "Prime Minister (Imran Khan) has shown intent to improve ties with the USA but at the same time he is not ready to accept unjust demands", she said.

Blaming the previous PML-N government for the existing state of bilateral ties with the US, Qureshi said, "The last government had no engagement, no dialogue [with the US administration] ... in fact there was an nearly total breakdown of talks". Pathankot attack happened after PM Narendra Modi returned from Pakistan, but when Sidhu returned from Pakistan and some nok-jhonk (bickering) took place, the message from my friend came that "we want peace".

In an event organised by Youth Congress, Sidhu yesterday clarified his stand and said dialogue was the only way to improve ties with Pakistan.

Those include the Haqqani Network and Afghan Taliban, both of which are said by USA officials to operate freely from Pakistani soil. "The US should also respect Pakistan's interests", he said. Hussain cited tension in the USA relations with China, Russia, and Iran.

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