Why it's so hard for USA to crack down on Pakistan

Pakistan       by Mahmood Idrees | Published

Pakistan by Mahmood Idrees | Published

"We consider them to be destabilizing the region and also targeting USA personnel", Nauert said during a news briefing, according to Reuters.

Thursday's announcement was in addition to the $255 million in foreign military assistance that the Trump administration in August said it was withholding, she said.

"We will not accept any pressure or dictations from anyone", Sherry Rehman said on Friday in particular reference to the United States which has suspended security assistance to Pakistan for allegedly not abiding by its commitment against terrorism.

After a harshly worded New Year's Day tweet by President Trump accusing Pakistan of "deceit" and of harboring terrorists, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert confirmed Thursday that the US will suspend most security assistance to Islamabad.

In a tweet this week, President Trump said Pakistan's government has played the United States for "fools" and received nothing but "lies & deceit" in return for $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years.

The U.S. State Department announced the decision, saying it reflected the Trump administration's frustration that Pakistan has not done more against the two groups that Washington says use sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan that have killed U.S., Afghan and other forces. "I think there was a line item which showed these transfers from the US and it was similar to show the budget from "other" sources", said Dr. Salman Shah, a former finance minister of Pakistan.

Pakistan's support for these groups must end, Washington insists.

Defense Minister Khurram Dastagir said Thursday there should be "no doubt or fear as the defense of Pakistan is in competent and strong hands".

But despite the provocations, the USA does not want to completely rupture its relationship with Pakistan, where anti-American sentiment already runs high.

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The financial aid started flowing soon after the 9/11 attacks on NY and Washington, following 11 years of sanctions over Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. The country received more than $1 billion in USA assistance in 2016. Pressure from the USA also resulted in a buildup of Pakistani military presence along the border with Afghanistan.

On Wednesday night, Ghafoor told local Geo TV that Pakistan wants to continue cooperation with the US but will not "compromise on national interests and prestige". She told reporters that until Pakistan takes "decisive action" against those groups, security assistance was suspended.

The Trump administration briefed Congress on its decision on Wednesday.

The military aid, known as foreign military financing, "promotes the development of Pakistan's long-term [counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism] capabilities and improves Pakistan's ability to participate in maritime security operations and counter-maritime piracy", according to the State Department.

"In terms of specific actions, I think you'll see some more details come out on that in the next 24 to 48 hours", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had told reporters on Tuesday, adding, "They can do more to stop terrorism and we want them to do that".

Washington accuses Pakistan of playing a unsafe double game, taking billions in USA aid while supporting militants attacking its forces in Afghanistan, including the Taliban.

Pakistan, which serves as a key transport route for supplies to USA forces in Afghanistan, denies harboring terrorists.

But he said it could be a backup plan in response to the Indo-Pacific strategy of the USA and its allies.

Drone strikes have been a frequent tactic by the U.S forces since 2004 to target suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region, mainly North and South Waziristan, which border Afghanistan.

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