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Pakistan angered by Trump's aid freeze, terrorist "safe haven" remark

Pakistan angered by Trump's aid freeze, terrorist

File photograph of Ambassador Kennth Juster.

While US administrations have used harsh words in the past, officials here remain cautiously optimistic that there is now greater willingness in Washington to follow through on their threat to cut assistance to Pakistan.

Impacts of the USA decision on pursuit of common objectives is also likely to emerge more clearly in due course of time.

"This can help to have a more effective policy toward Pakistan and we can get some better results this time around", he said in response to a question.

A report in The Washington Post had indicated in December that a decision was imminent. Nothing's been reprogrammed. We're hopeful that we can lift the suspension and the aid would be able to go forward.

The Trump administration believes that it is time to try something new other than maintaining strategic patience and offering inducements to Pakistan to prevent it becoming a safe haven for terrorists from where they can attack the USA and its allies, a senior official said today.

It was pointed out that there had been "numerous conversations" with Pakistan over the last few months.

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"We do not believe this is the language of India. They are saying that they are not very dependent on the USA".

Last week, the USA administration under President Donald Trump had suspended all military assistance to Pakistan, amounting to $225 million, until it took decisive action against terrorist groups, including the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network. Yet the Taliban and the Haqqani network, both designated terrorist organisations by America, enjoy safe havens in Pakistan. The US also suspended the transfer of military equipment and other funds to Islamabad. The suspension of security assistance puts in jeopardy a total of $900 million that is given to Pakistan every year. The amount appropriated in a certain year usually "expires" by September 30 of the next year. Tillerson gave directions at the time of its expiry to keep $255 million separately and "withhold placing any of those funds on actual contacts". This was not likely to have been given as the United States had not issued that certification for CSF funds for 2015 and 2016 either. "At this stage all Fiscal Year 17 CSF have been suspended, so that's the entire amount of Dollars 900 million", Andrews said. "The US and Pakistan relationship has been a troubled one", he had said in a statement.

Republican senator Bob Corker, who is also the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, supported the administration's decision.

Paul is a long-time critic of Pakistan. The president points out that the U.S. has provided more than $33 billion in aid over the past 15 years.

Meanwhile, Pakistan foreign minister Khawaja M. Asif accused the United States of being a "friend who always betrays".

"They work with us at times, and they also harbor the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan", she added.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said here on Friday that the country fights the war against terrorism on its own resources. In an interaction with reporters, two senior state department officials insisted that such a move is not a punishment, but to provide an "incentive" to Pakistan to take more action against terrorist groups.


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