Tuesday October 03, 2023

$300m US aid for Pakistan withheld

August 05, 2016

WASHINGTON: The US Defense Department on Wednesday announced that it had withheld $300 million in military assistance to Pakistan, signaling frustration with Islamabad for not acting against the notorious Haqqani Network.

The said amount falls under the Coalition Support Fund, a programme to reimburse Pakistan for costs incurred in military operations conducted against militants. It, however, also requires secretary of defense to certify that Pakistan has taken demonstrated steps against militant groups.

The Pentagon spokesperson, Adam Stump, said that funds could not be released because Defense Secretary Ashton B Carter “has not yet certified that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network.” The group is known for attacking the US and allied forces in Afghanistan.

The spokesperson said that the decision to not give $300 million in military reimbursement funding does not reduce the significance of the sacrifices made by the Pakistani military.Meanwhile, Pakistan embassy’s spokesman here responded that Pakistan will continue to work with its partners in a long term effort for ensuring security and stability. Nadeem Hotiana said that CSF was “one of the many cooperative arrangements between Pakistan and the US to pursue common objectives.”

Hotiana added, “Pakistan will continue its fight against terrorism and ensure that areas cleared by the security forces do not slide back in to the control of terrorist networks.”This is the first time that the administration has withheld such financial support to Pakistan. In over a decade such reimbursements under the program have totaled about $14 billion.

Halting the CSF amount also indicates that Washington has growing strained relations with Pakistan over the Haqqani Network.Earlier, the US Congress disallowed the administration to sell F-16 fighter jets to Islamabad on subsidised rates. Through out the last few years, the Obama administration supported and voiced that Pakistan has been taking action against the militants and has achieved gains. Now, even the administration officials appear cautious and unwilling to provide military aid.