SEP 2, 2018: The U.S. has suspended $300 million in military funding to Pakistan due to Islamabad’s lack of “decisive actions” in support of regional American strategy, the Pentagon said on Saturday.
The announcement comes ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad scheduled for Wednesday.
Pompeo will be accompanied by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Joseph F. Dunford for talks in Islamabad next week.
They are also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan who said earlier Pakistan will only be ally of the US for peace in Afghanistan and the wider region.
The White House believes that a Pakistani crackdown could be pivotal in deciding the outcome of the long-running war in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has fought fierce campaigns against homegrown militant groups and says it has lost thousands of lives and suffered more than 120 billion dollars in economic losses in its long war on extremism and supporting US counterterror efforts in Afghanistan.
But US officials accuse Islamabad of ignoring groups that attack Afghanistan from alleged safe havens along the border between the two countries.
Pentagon spokesman Koné Faulkner said Saturday that the agency was suspending the funding to the Coalition Support Fund, which reimburses Pakistan’s military for fighting against terrorists.
“Due to a lack of decisive actions in support of the South Asia strategy, the remaining $300 million was reprogrammed,” he said.
Faulkner added the funds would be redistributed to other “urgent priorities,” pending Congress approval.
The US has been pushing Pakistan to crack down on alleged militant safe havens in the country — Islamabad denies any safe havens on its soil — and announced a freeze on aid at the beginning of the year that an official said could be worth almost $2 billion.
“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy… $300m (actually $323.6m to include non-Pakistan funds) was reprogrammed by the Defense Department in the June/July 2018 time frame for other urgent priorities,” Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said in an email to AFP.
The US defense department “is awaiting a congressional determination on whether this reprogramming request will be approved or denied”, Faulkner said.