WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump’s decision to freeze aid to Pakistan could affect almost two billion dollars’ worth of assistance, a senior administration official said on Friday — substantially more than first thought.

After an announcement designed to force Pakistan’s military and intelligence apparatus to cut support for the Taliban and other Islamist groups, the official said that both US military assistance and Afghanistan coalition funding to Islamabad could be suspended.

It is “approximately two billion worth of equipment and coalition support funding that is in play,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

After more than a decade of simmering US anger at links between Islamabad and the Taliban and the Haqqani network — a Taliban affiliate — President Donald Trump is trying to draw a line in the sand.

On the hook is almost $1bn of US military equipment that has allowed Pakistan access to advanced military technology, but also funding that is meant to pay Pakistan for helping get US and NATO materiel into Afghanistan.

Analysts believe the United States is highly unlikely to freeze all that funding, which totals $1.9bn, according to the source.

US officials have already indicated that there could be “exemptions” for programs deemed vital to US national security, likely including cash for keeping Pakistan’s nuclear weapons safe.

But nevertheless, the total figure of $1.9bn is much higher than first indicated and is a signal of Washington’s seriousness.

The senior administration official said “all options are on the table” when it comes to further moves, including stripping Pakistan of its status as a “major non-NATO ally” or calling in vital IMF loans.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2018

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

Iran’s counterstrike
Updated 15 Apr, 2024

Iran’s counterstrike

Israel, by attacking Iran’s diplomatic facilities and violating Syrian airspace, is largely responsible for this dangerous situation.
Opposition alliance
15 Apr, 2024

Opposition alliance

AFTER the customary Ramazan interlude, political activity has resumed as usual. A ‘grand’ opposition alliance ...
On the margins
15 Apr, 2024

On the margins

IT appears that we are bent upon taking the majoritarian path. Thus, the promise of respect and equality for the...
Noshki killings
Updated 14 Apr, 2024

Noshki killings

It must be asked why Baloch separatists continue to target civilians as well as security men despite large deployment.
Upholding the law
14 Apr, 2024

Upholding the law

THE recent discord in Bahawalnagar offers a chance to reflect on the sanctity of the law and its enforcement across...
Tragic travels
14 Apr, 2024

Tragic travels

FOR those embarking on road and boat journeys, the probability of fatal accidents has seen a steady rise. The recent...