The White House confirmed on Monday that its decision to withhold military aid worth $225 million to Pakistan still stands. Washington maintains that this is because of Pakistan’s reluctance to confront terrorist networks in the country. A National Security Council spokesman said that president Trump has made it clear that the US expects Pakistan to take decisive measures against militants and other terrorists operating within its borders. The president added that this will determine relations between the US and Pakistan moving forward including the provision of military aid.
The move to withhold military aid to Pakistan was decided in August this year. The $225 million is part of a $1.1 billion aid package that was approved by Congress in 2016. The Trump administration confirmed that this is a temporary measure until Pakistan commits to dealing decisively with local terrorist organizations. The National Security Council spokesman also added that the US will continue to review Pakistan’s actions against terrorists in the region. The US might also consider cutting other funds sent to the South Asian country.
President Trump said that the US has given Pakistan $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years yet the Asian country has only reciprocated this generosity with lies and deceit. The president accused Pakistan of giving terrorists out of Afghanistan safe havens within its borders.
Trump made it clear that this has to stop. He also announced that his administration will continue its military operations in Afghanistan. The White House urged Pakistan to reconsider its approach in dealing with Afghan insurgents and to cooperate with the US military in its operations in the region.
The threat of terrorism in Afghanistan is growing by the day. The country has been rocked by numerous attacks during this festive period with many people killed and others injured. Permanent representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations Mahmoud Saikal said a few weeks ago that civilian deaths arising from the ongoing insurgency in the country were hitting saddening numbers. It is estimated that at least 80 civilians are killed each day in the embattled nation as a result of terrorist attacks and insurgency operations.
The US has been stepping up operations against extremists groups in the country in recent months. Reports indicate that there could be 15,000 US soldiers stationed in Afghanistan at the moment. However, cooperation among countries in the region is needed in order to fully combat the threat.
The US sees Pakistan as an important player in the Afghan conflict. However, it seems that the Pakistani government has not done enough to convince Washington that it is committed to the war against Islamist insurgents.
The withholding of military aid is definitely a big step by the United States. Whether this will have any effect in pushing Pakistan to do more on countering terror organizations in the region is still a mystery. It’s also not clear whether the US is considering other measures to put pressure on Islamabad.