US to continue withholding $255m military aid to Pakistan

Pakistan's actions in support of South Asia strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of relationship with US, including future security assistance: White House

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Pakistan's actions in support of South Asia strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of relationship with US, including future security assistance: White House 

The White House has said it will continue to withhold $255 million in military aid to Pakistan until the Trump administration reviews the country’s actions in confronting terrorists and militants.

"The United States does not plan to spend the $255 million in FY 2016 foreign military financing for Pakistan at this time," a National Security Council spokesman said, quoted by CNN. "The President has made clear that the United States expects Pakistan to take decisive action against terrorists and militants on its soil, and that Pakistan's actions in support of the South Asia strategy will ultimately determine the trajectory of our relationship, including future security assistance."

The Trump administration first said in August that it was temporarily withholding the $255 million aid, which was part of a $1.1 billion aid package authorised in 2016 by Congress. The money was withheld until Pakistan ‘agreed to do more to combat terrorist networks’.

The National Security Council official said the administration would continue to review Pakistan's level of cooperation in security areas.

US President Donald Trump on Monday threatened to cut aid to Pakistan after accusing the country of giving nothing in return except for "lies and deceit".

In a tweet on New Year’s Day, he claimed that the United States had foolishly given Pakistan over $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years.

Trump also accused Pakistan of thinking US leaders to be fools. “They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

Trump’s tweet drew a strong reaction from Pakistan. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said Pakistan has already refused to ‘do more’ for the United States.

“We have already told the US that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance,” Asif told Geo News.

“Pakistan is ready to publicly provide every detail of the US aid that it has received,” Asif added.