U.S. Freezes Military Aid to Pakistan, Citing Inadequate Action on Militants

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After Pentagon said that it had sought Congressional assent to reprogramme United States dollars 300 million of its Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for Pakistan because of its "lack of" decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, Islamabad has defended itself.

"Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, the remaining $300 [million] was reprogrammed", Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Kone Faulkner said September 1.

He said another $500 million in CSF was stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, to bring the total withheld to $800 million.

"We will hear him and let him know the aspiration of the nation", Qureshi said.

Mr. Qureshi said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was not responsible for the latest tension or suspension of funds by the U.S.as the deal to reimburse Pakistan the cost of war on terror was agreed in past.

The move is part of a broader aid suspension announced in January, as US President Donald Trump tries to pressure Islamabad over its alleged support for militant safe havens.

But US officials accuse Islamabad of ignoring or even collaborating with groups, which attack Afghanistan from safe havens along the border between the two countries. Mattis told reporters on Tuesday that combating militants would be a "primary part of the discussion".

The disclosure came ahead of an expected visit by U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo and the top USA military officer, General Joseph Dunford, to Islamabad.

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For over a decade, Pakistan has received CSF assistance to reimburse its military for expenditures incurred in its war against armed groups, including the Pakistani Taliban. The cut in aid is serious, but the US still sends more than a billion dollars to Pakistan in other military aid and economic assistance. The focus in Afghanistan should be a peace process with the Afghan Taliban, and while Pakistan has consistently expressed an interest in supporting a peace process, it can only do so much in the face of political disarray in Afghanistan and reluctance in the United States to engage the Taliban in dialogue.

In response to Pakistan's request, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters on August 23 that Pakistan is an "important partner to the United States", and that the United States hopes to "forge a good, productive working relationship with the new civilian government". The move was first reported by Reuters.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Hussain Chaudhry says the U.S. plan to give a role to India in Afghanistan is the main cause of differences between Islamabad and Washington.

The proposed cuts mark a new low in what were already deteriorating relations with the United States' longtime ally.

PM Khan, who once suggested he might order the shooting down of U.S. drones if they entered Pakistani airspace, has opposed the United States' open-ended presence in Afghanistan.

US officials had previously held out the possibility that Pakistan could win back the funding if it showed that it was taking decisive actions to root out insurgents. "They [U.S.] are showing only one side of it; we will show the other side", he said.

Pakistan could again be eligible next year for CSF.