The US military plans to cancel a $300 million aid package to Pakistan because of Islamabad’s lack of “decisive action” in support of US strategy in the region, the Pentagon said on Saturday.
The US has pushed Pakistan to crack down on the havens of militants in the country and announced a freeze on aid earlier this year, which, according to one official, could be worth almost $2 billion.
The US Department of Defense has tried to cut aid by $300 million “because of the lack of decisive Pakistani actions in support of the South Asia Strategy,” Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said in an e-mail to AFP.
“We continue to pressure Pakistan to indiscriminately attack all terrorist groups,” said Faulkner, adding that the latest request for aid cuts was pending approval from Congress.
The announcement came days before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Islamabad to meet with new Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Pakistan has fought fierce campaigns against local militant groups and says it has lost thousands of lives and spent billions of dollars in its long war against extremism.
But US officials have accused Islamabad of ignoring or even collaborating with groups attacking Afghanistan from safe ports along the border between the two countries.
The White House believes that Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence Agency and other military bodies have long helped to fund and arm the Taliban for ideological reasons but also to contain the growing Indian influence in Afghanistan.
It is also believed that a Pakistani crackdown could be crucial in deciding the outcome of the long war in Afghanistan.
In turn, this latest attack by the US against Pakistan will only force the improvement of relations between Islamabad and Moscow. This will also see Moscow have a greater influence over resource rich Afghanistan while the US continues to ruin its relationship with Pakistan and lose to the Taliban insurgency.