US suspension of aid to impact security cooperation, regional peace: DG ISPR

Pakistan Army has indiscriminately targeted terrorists, including the Haqqani network, says Army spokesman


KARACHI: Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor on Friday said that the suspension of aid to Pakistan by the United States would impact bilateral security cooperation between the two nations and regional peace.

The Pakistani military spokesman said so during an interview with Voice of America (VOA).

“Suspension of security assistance will not affect Pakistan’s resolve to fight terrorism; however, it for sure will have an impact on Pakistan-U.S. security cooperation and efforts towards regional peace,” said the Army spokesman.

The US earlier announced that it was withholding $255 million in aid to Islamabad.

"Today we can confirm that we are suspending security assistance only to Pakistan at this time," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert announced at a press briefing on Thursday.

Ghafoor said that Pakistan never fought for money, but for peace. 

The spokesman further added that the Pakistan Army has indiscriminately targeted terrorists, including the Haqqani network at a “heavy cost of blood and treasure.”

The Army spokesman reiterated that there are no more "organised" terrorist sanctuaries inside Pakistan. 

The DG ISPR added that casting doubts on Pakistan would not be good for common objectives shared by Washington and Islamabad.

“Casting doubts on our will is not good to our common objective of moving toward enduring peace and stability."

He further vowed that "Pakistan shall continue its sincere efforts in the best interest of Pakistan and peace."

The US Defense Department has been instructed to stop making payments from Coalition Support Funds set aside to refund Pakistani spending on counter-terrorist operations.

However, there will be exemptions, and officials refused to put a figure on how much Pakistan will lose out on if it fails to cooperate.

But the National Defense Authorization Act permits the US military to spend up to $900 million in the 2017 financial year and $700 million in financial 2018.

Trump tweet

The suspension of security assistance to Islamabad comes after Washington accused Pakistan of playing a “double game” on fighting terrorism and warned Islamabad it would have to do more if it wanted to maintain US aid.

It was followed by President Donald Trump's tweet on January 1 in which he accused Pakistan of giving nothing but lies and deceit, thinking US leaders to be fools.

"They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Trump said.

Islamabad's reaction

The tweet drew a strong reaction from Islamabad and saw the summoning of the US ambassador to the Foreign Office of Pakistan in a rare public rebuke.

Earlier this week, a high-level huddle of the Pakistani civil-military leadership expressed disappointment over the US president's anti-Pakistan statement, however, decided not to take measures in haste in reply to US allegations.

Trump's comments "struck with great insensitivity" and "negated the decades of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation", read a press statement issued after the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting in Islamabad.

It said that Pakistan cannot be blamed for failures in Afghanistan and accusing allies will not lead to the establishment of peace in the neighbouring country.