The United States will not pay Pakistan $300 million in military reimbursements that it was supposed to, because of Washington’s continued dissatisfaction with Islamabad’s counter-terrorism efforts.
The payment was incumbent upon Defense Secretary Ash Carter certifying to Congress that Pakistan was acting against the Haqqani Network that targets US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.
“The funds could not be released to the Government of Pakistan at this time because the Secretary has not yet certified that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani network,” Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said Wednesday.
The United States pays partners for aiding in operations in Afghanistan from the Compensatory Support Fund, from which Pakistan has received $14 billion since 2002.
But financial aid and reimbursements to Pakistan have faced close scrutiny and opposition in recent months because of deep dissatisfaction with Islamabad’s counter-terrorism efforts.
The US Senate blocked recently a proposal from the Obama administration to sell Pakistan eight new F-16 fighter jets in a heavily subsidised deal for the same reason.
Lawmakers from both parties have been increasingly critical of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism record, specially its failure to move against all terrorists operating from its soil.
They intend to make all payments to Pakistan — aid or compensation — incumbent upon certification from the administration that Islamabad was doing enough.
Pakistan claims it is doing all it can, but worries about a “blowback” in the form of retaliatory attacks from terrorists, of which there have been plenty in recent months.
“Pakistan does not draw any distinction between any terrorists and we have taken up the fight against terrorism and the terrorist elements within Pakistan,” Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria told reporters in Islamabad on Thursday.
“These reimbursements enable the United States to support Pakistan's ongoing counterterrorism efforts in a manner that serves shared interests of both the countries.”
But Washington seems to have run out of both patience and sympathy for a non-NATO ally which is increasingly described as “duplicitous” and “frenemy” now.
The New York Times recently called for a squeeze on aid to Pakistan saying it “remains a duplicitous and dangerous partner for the United States and Afghanistan, despite $33 billion in American aid and repeated attempts to reset relations on a more constructive course”.
(With agency inputs)