US suspends security assistance to Pakistan

The United States is suspending security assistance to Pakistan over what it sees as a failure by the Pakistani gover...

Posted: Jan 5, 2018 10:41 AM
Updated: Jan 5, 2018 10:41 AM

The United States is suspending security assistance to Pakistan over what it sees as a failure by the Pakistani government to adequately clamp down on terror groups within its borders, the State Department announced Thursday.

"We will not be delivering military equipment or transfer security related funds to Pakistan unless it is required by law," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.

The value of the assistance is still being determined, Nauert said. A senior State Department official who briefed reporters after the announcement said it will encompass $255 million in foreign military financing from the 2016 fiscal year, which had not yet been disbursed and which the administration previously announced it would be withholding, as well as coalition support funds from the same year and other unspent money from previous fiscal years.

"We're still working through the details of exactly what's going to be captured there," said the official.

Historically, the United States has provided Pakistan over $1 billion in security assistance annually. Some of that money has already been paid out or withheld for the 2016 fiscal year, but if the freeze on these funds is extended to the 2017 fiscal year -- a decision the official said had not yet been made -- the amount could top $1 billion.

The Trump and Obama administrations had previously withheld $350 million in FY2016 coalition support funds due to similar concerns about Pakistan's failure to go after Taliban and Haqqani fighters.

The US does not plan to suspend any civilian assistance to Pakistan, the official said, and will make exemptions for some security funding "on a case-by-case basis."

All of that money could be provided to the Pakistani government in the future if it takes certain "specific and concrete steps" relayed to it by the administration, the official noted, telling reporters the administration wants Pakistan to see the decision "as an incentive, not a punishment."

"The United States stands ready to work with Pakistan in combating all terrorists without distinction," Nauert said at the agency's news briefing, "and we hope to be able to renew and deepen our bilateral security relationship when Pakistan demonstrates its willingness to aggressively confront the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network and other terrorist and militant groups that operate from within its country."

The move should not come as a surprise to Pakistani leaders, Nauert said, adding that the assistance could be made available to Pakistan in the future if it takes certain steps to deny terrorists a haven and more aggressively confront groups "who threaten US interests."

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta questioned the decision, saying it risks pushing Pakistan toward a closer relationship with China and Russia -- US adversaries that have been strengthening their economic ties with the Pakistani government in recent years.

The announcement is the latest in a string of actions and sharp statements by US officials targeting Pakistan.

President Donald Trump rang in the new year on Monday morning with a pointed tweet, accusing the government of "lies & deceit."

The next day, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addressed reporters and accused Pakistan of playing "a double game for years" in its counterterrorism cooperation with the United States.

"They work with us at times, and they also harbor the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan," Haley said. "That game is not acceptable to this administration."

In August, the Trump administration unveiled its South Asia strategy, aimed at turning the tide in Afghanistan, where the US has been engaged in a protracted 17-year war. Speaking at the time, Trump accused Pakistan of giving "safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror," and said the time had come "for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace."

"It's been more than four months since the President's speech," Nauert said at the State Department Tuesday. "And despite a sustained high-level engagement by this administration with the government of Pakistan, the Taliban and the Haqqani network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan as they plot to destabilize Afghanistan, and also attack US and allied personnel."

Earlier Tuesday, the State Department announced that it had placed Pakistan on a special watch list "for severe violations of religious freedom," as part of its obligations under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 -- action that was unrelated to the decision on security assistance.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319115

Reported Deaths: 7353
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22246264
Hinds20612421
Harrison18342316
Rankin13855282
Jackson13666248
Madison10213224
Lee10050176
Jones8452167
Forrest7810153
Lauderdale7253242
Lowndes6488149
Lamar632288
Lafayette6295120
Washington5412136
Bolivar4833133
Panola4659110
Oktibbeha465898
Pearl River4591146
Marshall4571105
Warren4436121
Pontotoc424573
Union415576
Monroe4154135
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock385187
Leflore3514125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn323272
Scott319274
Yazoo313971
Adams304785
Itawamba304777
Copiah299666
Coahoma298283
Simpson297889
Tippah291168
Prentiss283361
Leake271674
Marion271280
Covington266683
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251851
Newton248563
Tishomingo230867
Winston229881
Jasper222048
Attala214973
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187454
Stone187233
Tallahatchie179941
Clarke178980
Calhoun173732
Yalobusha167740
Smith164034
Walthall135147
Greene131633
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite125942
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica107927
Jefferson Davis107633
Claiborne102930
Benton102225
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin84923
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50817
Issaquena1696
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547323

Reported Deaths: 11266
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson808021563
Mobile41925826
Madison35600522
Tuscaloosa26136458
Shelby25554254
Montgomery25067610
Baldwin21774313
Lee16234175
Calhoun14692325
Morgan14614285
Etowah14132361
Marshall12443230
Houston10748287
Elmore10295212
Limestone10180157
St. Clair10146250
Cullman9921200
Lauderdale9582248
DeKalb8955189
Talladega8441184
Walker7318279
Autauga7215113
Blount6925139
Jackson6900113
Colbert6394139
Coffee5616126
Dale4928114
Russell454441
Chilton4461116
Franklin430683
Covington4263122
Tallapoosa4117154
Escambia400280
Chambers3715123
Dallas3604156
Clarke352861
Marion3231106
Pike313978
Lawrence3121100
Winston283372
Bibb267364
Geneva256981
Marengo250565
Pickens236562
Barbour234559
Hale226578
Butler223371
Fayette217162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph186844
Monroe179141
Washington170339
Macon163051
Clay159559
Crenshaw155057
Cleburne152543
Lamar145837
Lowndes141953
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh112930
Coosa111129
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
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