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Pakistan and US Officials Double Down on Diplomacy After Trump Twitter Tirade

Pakistan and US Officials Double Down on Diplomacy After Trump Twitter Tiradeā€

The US State Department announced the decision, saying it reflected the Trump administration's frustration that Pakistan has not done more against the militant groups, which have long used sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks against Afghan and foreign forces in Afghanistan.

The latest USA defense budget signed by Trump in December allocates $700 million in conditional aid to reimburse Pakistan for supporting US military operations in Afghanistan, but the aid is facing more scrutiny.

Now, financially strapped Islamabad will be looking to fill a hole in its annual military budget with the Trump administration's announcement Thursday that it's suspending security assistance to the Pakistani military until it takes "decisive action" against the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network that are targeting US personnel in Afghanistan. They give safe havens to terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. They said they could make exceptions to fund critical USA national security priorities.

The participants noted that over the past several years, Pakistan's counter terrorism campaign has served as a bulwark against possible expansion of scores of terrorist organizations now present in Afghanistan - a fact acknowledged by the USA authorities at the highest levels.

"The United States does not plan to spend the $255 million in FY 2016 foreign military financing for Pakistan at this time", said a National Security Council spokesman on Monday.

The United States did not specify the actions Pakistan is required to undertake to earn back the assistance, which is mostly extended to enable Islamabad to bolster its counterterrorism capability with, if needed, military hardware purchases from the U.S. with its funding.

Trump unveiled in August a South Asia strategy aimed at ending the stalemate in the USA war in Afghanistan, now entering its 17th year.

"For the last 70 years, defense is a one-line budget", said Qaisar Bengali, a leading Pakistani economist and former adviser to the government on economy and finance.

Also Thursday, the State Department accused Pakistan of severe violations of religious freedom.

But on Tuesday, Pakistan called Trump's tweet "completely incomprehensible" and at odds with recent "trust-building" visits by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Mattis.

The widely reported data collected from USA and Pakistan government agencies suggest a huge chunk, around $14.5 billion, has gone to the Pakistani military for covering its claimed costs of anti-terror operations. A lot of that is under DoD (Department of Defence), so I just won't have the details about that.

Ghafoor said the United States had only reimbursed the expenditure which Pakistan had incurred while supporting coalition forces in Afghanistan.

As recently as October, Trump credited U.S.

USA assistance to Pakistan, which rose sharply after the 9/11 attacks, has been declining since 2011 when American commandos killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, straining relations.

"No amount of coercion can dictate us how to continue", he said speaking on Geo News' programme Capital Talk.

Pakistan has increasingly turned for economic support to northern neighbor China, which is investing tens of billions in transportation links and power generation as it extends its strategic footprint across Asia.

'There are considerable risks for the USA because Pakistan could retaliate in ways that would be very problematic for US regional interests, ' he said, such as curtailing intelligence cooperation and US supply lines into Afghanistan.



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