The United States will suspend almost all security aid to Pakistan, the Trump administration announced on Thursday in a sign of its frustration with the country's refusal to confront terrorist networks operating there.
Pakistan is a crucial gateway for USA military supplies destined for US and other troops fighting a 16-year-old war in neighboring, landlocked Afghanistan.More news: 'It was so ferocious': Passengers recall terrifying cruise through 'bomb cyclone'
According to data maintained by the Security Assistance Monitor, an NGO which tracks and analyses USA security sector assistance programmes, security aid to Pakistan fell sharply from about $1.6 billion in fiscal 2003 to $319.7 million by fiscal 2017.
The newspaper added that the move could be used in response to the diplomatic steps taken by the United States.
In his first tweet of 2018, Trump charged Pakistan with deceit and treachery and cut off all further aid to Islamabad for harbouring terrorists United States troops were hunting in Afghanistan. Washington accuses Islamabad of assisting Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network militants causing chaos in Afghanistan.
"Trump is trying a coercive strategy against Pakistan", said Rahul Bhonsle, director of strategic consultancy firm Security Risks Asia.
He said that no threats were levelled against Pakistan during talks with American leaders.
On Wednesday night, Ghafoor told local Geo TV that Pakistan wants to continue cooperation with the USA but will not "compromise on national interests and prestige".More news: A 146-inch television will soon be available for purchase
"We're hoping that Pakistan will see this as an incentive, not a punishment", a senior State Department official said. Now it's putting more on hold until Pakistan denies safe haven to extremists who are undermining neighboring Afghanistan.
The official reaction issued by the Foreign Office was more measured than the angry reactions from some Pakistani leaders, including foreign minister Khawaja Asif, who has said the country could account for all the aid provided by the US.
"Pakistan is one of the most duplicitous governments I've had any involvement with", Senator Bob Corker, Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters.
The U.S. has provided more than $33 billion in assistance to Pakistan since 2002.
"If something were to happen to the ground lines of communication or air lines of communication through Pakistan, certainly that would be very hard for the USA and we would have to look for alternatives", the official said.
Nauert did not provide a dollar amount for the suspended aid in her announcement.More news: Trump dissolving his commission on election integrity
Meanwhile, Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said Islamabad's cooperation with Washington was not based on any aid consideration, but "on our national interests and principles".
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