The United States might not be able to stop Pakistan from giving aid and comfort to terrorists, but Defense Secretary James Mattis is not going to pay its government while it does so.
The Pentagon has put the brakes on $300 million in aid that was earmarked for Pakistan’s military, Fox News reported.
“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy,” the $300 million will be used for “other urgent priorities” Army Lt. Col. Koné Faulkner told NPR. Faulkner said the money had to be spent in the current federal fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
The Pentagon’s action must be affirmed by Congress.
The money had come with strings attached. According to the legislation authorizing the payment, the cash would only be paid if Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agree to certify that Pakistan is “cooperating with the United States in 12 counterterrorism efforts.”
Pompeo and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford will be in Pakistan this week for talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Pompeo and Dunford will then travel to Pakistan’s long-time rival India for meetings with leaders there.
Mattis said last week that during the meetings with Khan, fighting militants in Pakistan would be a “primary part of the discussion,” according to Reuters.
One expert said the United States does not want Pakistan backsliding while the U.S. fights terrorists operating out of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“It is a calibrated, incremental ratcheting up of pressure on Pakistan,” said Sameer Lalwani, co-director of the South Asia program at the Stimson Center.
Pakistan has received more than $33 billion in U.S. aid since 2002, including $14 billion in aid that has underwritten the costs of Pakistan’s military, but has been accused of playing a double game by accepting the aid while doing less than it could to root out terrorists.
WATCH | "We need to see that Pakistan no longer harbors terrorists… What we are not going to do is continue to support a nation that kills our citizens and citizens of our allies": Nikki Haley to NDTV
— NDTV (@ndtv) June 28, 2018
Pakistani legislator Mushahid Hussain, said the U.S. action was “a sop to India,” according to the Times of India.
In a Twitter post, Hussain said the money was also owed to Pakistan, and was not aid.
Since January, the Trump administration has been critical of Pakistan’s lackluster pursuit of terrorists.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
“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,” President Donald Trump tweeted in January.
“They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
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