Published: Mon, September 03, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

USA continues to press Pakistan to ‘indiscriminately’ target terror groups: Pentagon

USA continues to press Pakistan to ‘indiscriminately’ target terror groups: Pentagon

The U.S. military said it has made a final decision to cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan that had been suspended over Islamabad's perceived failure to take decisive action against militants, in a new blow to deteriorating ties.

The United States has now withheld $800 million from the CSF so far this year. "This is the money they (US) are supposed to reimburse, but now either they are not willing or unable to pay back", Qureshi said during a hurriedly called press conference on Sunday after the United States announced the decision.

"Unfortunately, recent reporting has distorted the details of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) by stating several things out of context".

The Trump administration says Islamabad is granting safe haven to insurgents who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighbouring Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan denies. He said, Pentagon will have a congressional response before September 30, to allow it to implement the reprogramming actions.

Pakistan does not agree with the U.S. view that India has a role to play in bringing peace to Afghanistan, the nation's Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said.

Mike Pompeo, US Secretary Of State is due to meet with new Pakistani President, Imran Khan this week.

Among the issues Mr. Pompeo is expected to raise on his visit is counterterrorism in the region. The $300 million cut and comments by a Pentagon spokesman suggest Washington does not feel this has happened and is ratcheting up the pressure.

Earlier he told the BBC Urdu that the USA in principle should pay back the money to Pakistan because it was spent for a common objective to defeat militancy and create peace and stability.

No restoration of U.S. security assistance to Pakistan before the war in Afghanistan ends, more restrictions may be imposed and Washington has serious concerns about Pakistan's growing economic ties with China, said Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall G. Schriver.

"We will listen to their point of view, and we will present our position to them", he said. While the USA appears to believe this is a simple way to "punish" Pakistan for not behaving as they'd prefer, it also risks alienating Pakistan, and convincing them to stop providing aid to the U.S. at all, knowing there's a good chance they'll never get paid for it. That agenda includes using terrorists to shape the post-war future in Afghanistan - a future they wish to dominate.

Pakistan has fought fierce campaigns against homegrown militant groups, and says it has lost thousands of lives and spent billions of dollars in its long war on extremism. "They (US) are showing only one side of it; we will show the other side", he said.

He added that there is a trust deficit between Pakistan and the US but the government wants to improve the ties and build trust between the two countries. The deal was done even before the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government assumed power, he added.

The Information Minister said Pakistan wants to have cordial and cooperative relations with all the neighbours, including India and regional countries.

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