Pentagon cancels $300 million in aid to Pakistan

Reuters is reporting that the Pentagon has decided to cancel $300 million in military aid to Pakistan over their continuing support for Islamic terrorsts.

The money had previously been suspended because of Pakistan's support for terrorists who were killing Americans in Afghanistan and destabilzing that regime. Donald Trump announced the suspension of aid earlier this year, but the Pentagon left open the possibility that it could be restored if Pakistan altered its behavior.

Since that has not been the case, the money has been cut.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in particular, had an opportunity to authorize $300 million in CSF funds through this summer - if he saw concrete Pakistani actions to go after insurgents. Mattis chose not to, a U.S. official told Reuters.

“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining $300 (million) was reprogrammed,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said.

Faulkner said the Pentagon aimed to spend the $300 million on “other urgent priorities” if approved by Congress. He said another $500 million in CSF was stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, to bring the total withheld to $800 million.

The disclosure came ahead of an expected visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the top U.S. military officer, General Joseph Dunford, to Islamabad. Mattis told reporters on Tuesday that combating militants would be a “primary part of the discussion.”

Experts on the Afghan conflict, America’s longest war, argue that militant safe havens in Pakistan have allowed Taliban-linked insurgents in Afghanistan a place to plot deadly strikes and regroup after ground offensives.

The Pentagon’s decision showed that the United States, which has sought to change Pakistani behavior, is still increasing pressure on Pakistan’s security apparatus.

It also underscored that Islamabad has yet to deliver the kind of change sought by Washington.

“It is a calibrated, incremental ratcheting up of pressure on Pakistan,” said Sameer Lalwani, co-director of the South Asia program at the Stimson Center think tank in Washington.

Pakistan sees Afghanistan as in their sphere of influence and their support for terrorists and the Taliban is part of their overall regional security strategy. For years, they have been playing a double game, giving lip service and some assistance to US anti-terrorism efforts in the region while Pakistani's intelligence agency, the ISI, blatantly supports terrorists who kill Americans. We've put up with this double dealing because most supplies that go to our forces in Afghanistan come through Pakistan -- the cheapest and easiest resupply route. But with far fewer US military personnel in Afghanistan today, the urgent need to keep Pakistan happy has disappeared. Hence, the Pentagon's calculation that if Pakistan refuses to allow resupplying Americans in Afghanistan, other supply routes can be utilized.

Pakistan will no doubt be angry and turn out militants into the street to protest. American facilities may be attacked. But the Pakistanis have only themselves to blame. We have been sending military and economic aid to Pakistan since the days of President Zia, who backed Afghan rebels in their war against Soviet occupation and all during that time, the Pakistani government has supported extremists. 

If they can do without US military and economic aid, they can continue their duplicitous policies. But there is no doubt that the Pakistani military will feel the loss of $300 million keenly.

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