WASHINGTON: The US 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.

The so-called Coalition Support Funds (CSF) were part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by President Donald Trump at the start of the year, when he had accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with “nothing but lies & deceit”. The Trump administration says Islamabad is granting safe haven to insurgents who are waging a war in Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan denies.

US defence secretary Jim Mattis had an opportunity to authorise $300 million in CSF if he saw concrete Pakistani actions to go after insurgents. Mattis chose not to, a US official told Reuters.

“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, the remaining $300 [million] was reprogrammed,” said Pentagon spokesman lieutenant colonel Kone Faulkner. He said the Pentagon aimed to spend the $300 million on “other urgent priorities” if approved by Congress.

He said another $500 million in CSF had been stripped from Pakistan by Congress earlier this year, bringing the total withheld fund to $800 million.

The disclosure came ahead of an expected visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the top US military officer, General Joseph Dunford, to Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2018

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