WASHINGTON, Dec 14: A joint committee of the US House and Senate agreed on Wednesday to tying some military aid to Pakistan to certifications from the departments of State and Defence that Islamabad had taken effective steps to curb the flow of certain explosive materials into Afghanistan. The US Department of Defence believes that some fertilisers made in Pakistan are used for making improvised explosive devices. The Taliban militants use these IEDs to target US, Nato and Afghan troops in Afghanistan.

Earlier Wednesday, a defence authorisation bill was tabled in the US Congress, which includes provisions for freezing $700 million in US aid to Pakistan if it fails to curb the flow of IED materials into Afghanistan.

A proposal attached to the bill will require the US administration not to release more than 40 per cent of the counter-insurgency funds meant for Pakistan before the secretaries of state and defence certify that Islamabad was making serious efforts to curb IEDs.

Separately, the State Department clarified that the US was not going to cut civilian aid to Pakistan and the proposed freeze of $700 million in military aid will not lead to an automatic severance. It would only require Washington to work with Islamabad to stem the flow of IED ingredients into Afghanistan.

On Monday evening, a congressional panel agreed to back a move to freeze $700 million in US aid to Pakistan if Islamabad fails to curb the smuggling of IED ingredients into Afghanistan. The bill has not yet become a law, although it has strong bipartisan support in both chambers of the US Congress. And even when it becomes a law, the proposed restriction would require the administration to demand certain guarantees from Pakistan. It will not lead to an automatic freeze.

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