Defense Department Canceling $300M In Pakistan Aid
The Defense Department will cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan that was previously suspended. The so-called Coalition Support Funds were part of a US Defense Department program to reimburse allies for costs incurred supporting counter-insurgency operations. The aid has now been canceled over Pakistan’s perceived failure to take decisive action against militants.
Military experts have found that Pakistan’s actions have exacerbated the Afghan conflict, America’s longest war at 17 years and counting. They say that Pakistan has allowed Taliban-linked insurgents in Afghanistan to have safe havens in the country to regroup after ground offensives and plot strikes against the coalition fighting them. At the beginning of the year, President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with “nothing but lies & deceit.” Pakistan has denied the charges.
Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said in a statement, “Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, the remaining $300 (million) was reprogrammed.” Faulkner continued on to say that the Pentagon intends to spend the $300 million on “other urgent priorities” if approved by Congress. Combined with the $500 million in CSF stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, the total to be withheld is now $800 million.
The move is intended to ratchet up pressure on Pakistan at a time when its economy is struggling. The country’s foreign exchange reserves have plummeted over the past year. The move also comes as former cricket player Imran Khan takes office as prime minister. Khan has opposed the United States’ open-ended presence in Afghanistan.
This is not the only action that the US is taking against Pakistan’s perceived inaction on curtailing militant activity. Last month, the White House announced it would be ending highly valued training and educational programs with the Pakistani military. The US may also take action if Pakistan seeks a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to alleviate its financial woes. The US has the largest share of votes at the IMF.