US withholds $900 million security assistance to Pakistan
WASHINGTON (92 News) – The Trump administration said it was suspending security assistance to Pakistan targeting the Coalition Support Funds that the US pays to Pakistan to reimburse it for its counter-terrorism operations.
The action announced Thursday is in addition to a decision disclosed earlier this week in which the National Security Council said the US will continue to withhold $900 million in military aid as the White House reviews Pakistan’s “level of cooperation” in fighting terrorism.
“This is something that should not come as a surprise to Pakistan,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told said. “They aren’t taking the steps that they need to take to fight terrorism.”
The department declined to say exactly how much aid would be suspended, saying the numbers were still being calculated and included funding from both the State and Defense departments.
In a briefing after the announcement, two State Department officials said the money being withheld fell into two categories: foreign military financing and funds the US reimburses to Pakistan for its support of coalition forces. Budgetary figures indicate the total amount the US may withhold is more than $1.2 billion.
President Donald Trump foreshadowed the move in a New Year’s Day tweet in which he said the US has “foolishly” given more than $33 billion and received only “lies and deceit” in return. It reflected his increasing warnings that the US would cut off aid to those that oppose his policies, potentially including the Palestinian Authority and countries that vote against the US at the United Nations.
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said the US owes Pakistan $9 billion for services including the use of its airspace and air bases.
Pakistan maintains that the billions it has received from the US were mainly reimbursements for supporting US-led coalition forces that invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to topple the Taliban regime that sheltered Al Qaeda.