WASHINGTON: The United States has told Pakistan what it must do if it wants Washington to resume paying out hundreds of millions of dollars in security aid, the Pentagon said Monday.
“Our expectations are straightforward,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning told reporters.
“Taliban and Haqqani leadership and attack planners should no longer be able to find safe haven or conduct operations from Pakistani soil.”
Last week, President Donald Trump froze payments worth $900 million from the “coalition support fund” for Pakistan, saying Islamabad is not doing enough to target Afghan Taliban and Haqqani group bases.
The coalition funding is set aside to refund Pakistani spending on counter-terrorist operations.
Also in question is almost $1 billion of US military equipment that has allowed Pakistan access to advanced military technology.
“The United States has conveyed to Pakistan specific and concrete steps that it could take,” Manning said.
“We stand ready to work with Pakistan to combat terrorist groups without distinction. We will continue these conversations with the Pakistani government in private.”
Pentagon officials are watching to see if Pakistan is going to retaliate against the US by cutting supply lines to US troops from its port at Karachi into Afghanistan.
So far, Manning said, there was no sign Islamabad was preparing to take that course of action. He stressed that the suspension of funding was not permanent “at this time” and that the money was not being diverted elsewhere.
US officials allege that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and other military bodies have long helped fund and arm the Taliban for ideological reasons, but also to counter rising Indian influence in Afghanistan, whose government is backed by the US.
Islamabad denies those allegations and has called Trump’s decision to threaten funding “counterproductive”.