WASHINGTON – The United States will suspend most security aid to Pakistan until Islamabad takes “decisive” steps against terrorist groups that threaten regional stability and American interests, the State Department said on Thursday.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert made the announcement at a press conference at which she added that the money will be frozen, that is it will not be allocated elsewhere, to maintain the “necessary flexibility” regarding the decision.
Nauert did not specify the total amount of funds that will be suspended but she did say that it is a “significant” amount, with the decision coming after on Tuesday the US announced that it would not provide Pakistan with $255 million in military aid Washington had been withholding since August due to Islamabad’s alleged failure to subdue terrorist networks.
The spokesperson acknowledged that Pakistan “certainly has been helpful in some instances ... (but) they are not taking steps they need to take to fight terrorists.”
The two announcements regarding the suspension of aid Pakistan come after on Monday Trump posted a harsh message on Twitter in which he accused Islamabad of “lies and deceit” and “giving safe haven to the terrorists.”
The US “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!” tweeted Trump.
Last August, the Trump administration decided to temporarily suspend delivery of the $255 million in military aid, which was part of a $1.1 billion assistance package approved by the US Congress in 2016.
The White House warned at the time that it would keep the funds blocked until Pakistan agreed to do more to combat terrorist networks.
The US and Afghanistan for years have accused Pakistan of providing refuge to the Taliban’s Haqqani network, which stages attacks on US and Afghan troops, a claim that Islamabad denies.