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United States suspending most aid to Pakistan as it fails to curb terrorism

United States suspending most aid to Pakistan as it fails to curb 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.

Nauert was at pains to point out that the frozen funds had not been cancelled, and would be ready to be disbursed if Pakistan takes action to prove its commitment to the fight.

In August, the Trump administration unveiled its South Asia strategy, aimed at turning the tide in Afghanistan, where the USA has been engaged in a protracted 17-year war.

One senior State Department official was slightly more pointed: "They have not made decisive action on our requests, so the decision was made to take this step as one step to indicate that we can not continue business as usual with the Pakistani government if they're not going to be a partner with us". "Pakistan's cooperation is not based on any consideration of aid but on our national interests and principles", Maleeha Lodh, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations, said in response to Haley's comments.

The US was concerned about the risks to its own personnel in Afghanistan from groups targeting them.

"We will not be delivering military equipment or transfer security related funds to Pakistan unless it is required by law", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.

The data-indicative of worsening US-Pakistan ties-come as US President Donald Trump slammed Pakistan's "lies and deceit" for providing "safe havens" to terrorists in exchange of $33 billion worth of US aid to Islamabad.

US assistance to Pakistan, which rose sharply after the 9/11 attacks, has been declining since 2011 when American commandos killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, straining relations.

Referring to Trump's new strategy, Nauert said despite a sustained high-level engagement by Trump administration with the government of Pakistan, the Taliban and the Haqqani Network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan as they plot to destabilise Afghanistan and also attack the United States and allied personnel.

There has been a 62% decline in security aid from the the United States of America (USA) to Pakistan over the last five years, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of data released by the US Congressional Research Service (CRS). The administration is now holding up $255 million in military assistance for Pakistan until it cracks down on extremists threatening Afghanistan.

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When asked by ABC News Thursday what changed, Nauert said, "I don't know that anything necessarily changed", just that Pakistan must do more.

Two other officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the amount suspended would total more than $255 million.

He said a unanimous statement would be adopted in next meeting of Parliamentary Committee on National Security in which defence bodies would also be invited. "They have to take decisive steps", she added.

"They understand that, but still they aren't taking the steps that they need to take in order to fight terrorism", she said. "What matters I think to the Pakistanis is that it is the symbolism of doing this that it represents a deterioration of our relationship that they care about a great deal", the official said.

"We have not done anything thats irreversible here".

"Pakistanis have repeatedly said we don't care about this money".

"So we were hoping that this is an incentive that they dont want to see this relationship deteriorate any further and that theyre going to commit to working with us to try to find a way to put it on a more solid footing", he added.

Also Thursday, the State Department accused Pakistan of severe violations of religious freedom.

Pakistan is a key partner in the fight against terrorism, but the USA has also accused it of supporting and providing safe haven to terror groups like the Haqqani Network, an independent division of the Taliban responsible for multiple attacks in neighboring Afghanistan over the years. Initially vague information on how much money and materiel was being withheld suggested the primary goal was to substantiate President Donald Trump's surprising New Year's Day tweet that accused Pakistan of playing USA leaders for "fools".


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