Pentagon’s ultimatum to Pak to act against terror groups

RSTV Bureau
Washington: President Donald Trump with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (right) in White House, Washington, Dec. 6, 2017. AP/PTI

Washington: President Donald Trump with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (right) in White House, Washington, Dec. 6, 2017.
AP/PTI

The US has once again asked Pakistan to take decisive action against terror groups, including the Taliban and the Haqqani network, operating from its soil, and said it was ready to work with it to combat terrorism. The Trump regime has lately acted tough against Pakistan, suspending USD 900 million aid.

“Our expectations are straight forward: Taliban and Haqqani leadership and attack planners should no longer be able to find safe haven or conduct operations from Pakistani soil,” Pentagon Press Secretary Army Col Rob Manning told reporters during an off-camera news conference.

He said the US has conveyed “specific and concrete steps” to Pakistan that it could take to eliminate terror networks on its soil.

“We stand ready to work together with Pakistan to combat terrorist groups without distinction,” Manning said.

He reiterated that the amount — USD 900 million in coalition support fund to Pakistan — has been suspended, not cancelled or reprogrammed. “The amount has been suspended, not cancelled or reprogrammed, as we continue to hope that Pakistan will take decisive action against the terrorist and militant groups that we seek”.

“This suspension is not a permanent cut-off at this time. Security funding and pending deliveries will be frozen, but not cancelled or reprogrammed at this time,” Manning said.

FILE: Islamabad: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khan Abbasi, before their meeting at the Prime Minister's residence, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, in Islamabad, Pakistan. Photo - AP/PTI

FILE: Islamabad: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khan Abbasi, before their meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Photo – AP/PTI

The amount, suspended recently by the Trump administration, was part of the approximately USD 2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan.

The Fiscal Year ’17 NDAA provides up to USD 900 million for Pakistan in Coalition Support Funds (CSF). The CSF is a two-year fund, and the FY17 CSF began on October 1, 2016 and ends on October 1, 2018.

Of the USD 900 million, USD 400 million can only be released if the DoD certifies that the Pakistani government has made a significant progress against the Haqqani network.

“The Secretary has not yet made a decision on the certification required by the FY17 NDAA. We cannot speculate on a future FY18 NDAA,” Manning said, adding that “to date, no FY17 CSF have been disbursed to Pakistan”.

“We last disbursed USD 550 million of FY16 CSF to Pakistan in late February-early March 2017,” he said.

(With inputs from Agencies)