U.S. suspending more than $255 million in security aid to Pakistan

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 04, 2018 3:56 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Thursday it was suspending security assistance to Pakistan, which one official said was worth more than $255 million, until Islamabad takes action against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

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, which have long used sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan that have killed U.S., Afghan and other forces.

The State Department declined to say precisely how much aid would be suspended, saying the numbers were still being calculated and that they included funding from both the State and Defense departments.

However, a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the newly suspended aid, which covers transfers of military equipment as well as reimbursements for Pakistani counterterrorism operations, would amount to more than $255 million.

Earlier this year the United States suspended a separate $255 million in so-called foreign military financing, which funds purchases of U.S. military hardware, training and services.

"It's north of $255 million," said the U.S. official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, of the newly suspended sums.

Earlier, a State Department spokeswoman said the money could go through if Islamabad took decisive action against the groups. She also said exceptions could be made to the suspension.

"Today we can confirm that we are suspending ... security assistance only to Pakistan at this time until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. We consider them to be destabilizing the region and also targeting U.S. personnel," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a regular news briefing.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)