Pentagon withholds $300 mn in military aid to Pakistan

Washington, Aug 4 (IANS) The Pentagon has refused Pakistan $300 million in military aid, in a sign of unhappiness with Islamabad for not acting against militants active in Afghanistan.

According to Pentagon spokesperson Adam Stump, Defence Secretary Ashton B. Carter had decided against making a certification to Congress stating that Pakistan is taking sufficient action against the Haqqani network, a Taliban affiliate blamed for attacks on the US and allied personnel in Afghanistan, The Washington Post reported.

The decision, which means Pakistan will not receive $300 million in military reimbursement funding, was based on the continuing operations of the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani militants on Pakistani soil, Stump said.

The move ends a year of speculation about an aid programme that has been fundamental to Pakistani military operations, and reveals the strains in Washington’s relations with an ally that many officials have accused of double-dealing with militant groups.

The decision comes amid a resurgence of Taliban activity in Afghanistan that has derailed plans to definitively end the long US military effort there.

Under the Coalition Support Funds (CSF) programme, the US reimburses Pakistan for its support of US and allied operations in Afghanistan and helps Pakistan pay for operations it conducts against militants on its soil.

Since 2002, reimbursements under the programme have totaled about $14 billion, representing a significant portion of Pakistan’s defence spending. In addition to helping fund operations, Pakistan’s military also used the money to buy food and ammunition, the Pentagon has said.

Nadeem Hotiana, a spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, said the CSF programme had allowed the US to support Pakistani military actions, particularly in the country’s restive tribal areas, that had benefited both countries.

“Pakistan will continue to work with its partners in a long-term effort for ensuring security and stability in these areas,” he said.

–IANS

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