U.S. suspends security aid to Pakistan

State Department announces suspension of security assistance to Pakistan until it takes action against Taliban and Haqqani network.

Ben Ariel,

Taliban fighter (illustration)
Taliban fighter (illustration)

The United States said on Thursday it was suspending security assistance to Pakistan until Islamabad takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, Reuters reported.

One official said the aid that was cut is worth more than $255 million.

The U.S. State Department announced the decision, saying it reflected the Trump administration's frustration that Pakistan has not done more against the two groups, which have long used sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan that have killed U.S., Afghan and other forces.

The State Department declined to say precisely how much aid would be suspended, saying the numbers were still being calculated and that they included funding from both the State and Defense departments.

However, a U.S. official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said the newly suspended aid, which covers transfers of military equipment as well as reimbursements for Pakistani counterterrorism operations, would amount to more than $255 million.

Earlier this year the United States suspended a separate $255 million in so-called foreign military financing, which funds purchases of U.S. military hardware, training and services.

"It's north of $255 million," said the U.S. official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, of the newly suspended sums.

Earlier, a State Department spokeswoman said the money could go through if Islamabad took decisive action against the groups. She also said exceptions could be made to the suspension.

In 2012, the State Department designated Haqqani as a terrorist organization.

Thursday’s cuts came days after U.S. President Donald Trump hinted on Twitter that such a move was coming due to what he described as Pakistan’s “lies and deceit”.

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!” he tweeted on Monday.

Pakistan’s Defense Minister later fired back at Trump on Twitter.

“Pak as anti-terror ally has given free to US: land & air communication, military bases & intel cooperation that decimated Al-Qaeda over last 16yrs, but they have given us nothing but invective & mistrust. They overlook cross-border safe havens of terrorists who murder Pakistanis,” he wrote.