US tells Pakistan again: Take ‘decisive action’ against terrorism
The US has conveyed “specific and concrete” steps to Pakistan that it could take to eliminate terror networks on its soil without any distinctionworld Updated: Jan 09, 2018 19:05 IST
The United States has reminded Pakistan that the suspension of security aid is not permanent and it could be resumed if Islamabad takes “decisive actions” against terrorists operating from its soil.
“Our expectations are straightforward: Taliban and Haqqani leadership and attack planners should no longer be able to find safe haven or conduct operations from Pakistani soil,” Pentagon spokesman Bob Manning told reporters on Monday.
The Trump administration announced last week it was suspending nearly $2 billion in security aid, while leaving economic and civilian assistance untouched, for Pakistan’s failure to act decisively against terrorists operating from its soil.
The administration made clear the decision amounted to suspension and not cancellation of security aid, which has been used to bolster Pakistan’s counter-terror capabilities, under what is called Foreign Military Funding, and to reimburse it for expenses incurred in combating terrorism in support of the international coalition in Afghanistan.
The US has conveyed to Pakistan the specific actions it wants to see being taken before the aid, which is substantial, is resumed. Officials have refused to discuss details, saying they have been the subject of private conversations.
“The US has conveyed to Pakistan specific and concrete steps that it could take,” Manning said, echoing earlier remarks from other officials. “We stand ready to work with Pakistan to combat terrorist groups without distinction. We will continue these conversations with the Pakistani government in private.”
A talking points memo put together by the state department for internal circulation said: “This decision (to suspend aid) reflects the President’s conclusion that Pakistan has not taken the necessary decisive action, as requested by the United States and as promised by Pakistan’s leaders, against terrorist and militant groups in the region.”
Pakistan has received $33 billion in aid, both security and civilian, from the US since 2002, when American troops were sent to Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime that had refused to give up al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks.
Pakistan has protested the suspension of the aid, but it is being closely watched, with President Donald Trump indicating support for completely ending all aid as has been threatened by a Republican senator in a legislation he plans to move shortly.
First Published: Jan 09, 2018 13:10 IST