The United States of America announced on 4 January 2018 that it has suspended over 1 billion US dollar security assistance to Pakistan, accusing the nation of harbouring terror groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network within its border and showing an unwillingness to take ‘decisive actions’ against them.
The announcement was made by State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert who said that despite a sustained high-level engagement by the Trump administration with Islamabad, Taliban and Haqqani Network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan.
She said that the decision reflected the Trump administration’s frustration that Pakistan has not done more against the two groups, which have long used their sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks in neighbouring nation Afghanistan that have killed many US, Afghan and other forces.
She further added that the administration will freeze the aid payments but not allocate the money elsewhere and instead would reassess it in the coming year. She also said the United States stands ready to work with Pakistan in combating all terrorists and hope to be able to renew and deepen the bilateral security relationship with Pakistan.
The suspended funds include 255 million dollars in Foreign Military Funding for the fiscal year 2016 as mandated by the Congress and the entire 900 million dollars of the Coalition Support Fund money to Pakistan by the Department of Defense for the fiscal year 2017.
Besides this, the United States has also placed Pakistan on a Special Watch List for severe violations of religious freedom. Pakistan is the only nation to feature in the newly-formed list of the US State Department.
The current decision closely follows US President Donald Trump’s New Year tweet in which he had accused Pakistan of giving US nothing but lies and deceit and providing safe haven to terrorists in return for the US aid over the last 15 years.