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U.S. could freeze up to $2 billion in aid to Pakistan

U.S. could freeze up to $2 billion in aid to Pakistan

USA ambassador to India Kenneth Juster met with the Indian foreign secretary S. Jaishankar for the first time after Washington indicated that it has made a decision to withhold at least $900 million in military aid to Pakistan. Not that past US Presidents were, in Trump's description, "foolish".

Trump had been keen to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan; therefore, he had only reluctantly agreed to increase their numbers under pressure from his generals. "But at this time that's what is suspended", the official said.

A report in The Washington Post had indicated in December that a decision was imminent.

Meanwhile, Asif said that the process of continuation of US-Pakistan relations was at great risk, especially after President Trump warned Islamabad to "do more" against terrorists who the US alleged were holed up in Pakistan.

It was pointed out that there had been "numerous conversations" with Pakistan over the last few months.

Though there was no immediate reaction from Islamabad to the U.S. move, defence minister Khurram Dastagir said on Thursday that, "we need to have a holistic review of the entire situation".

"We do not believe this is the language of India. They have to take decisive steps", she added.

Last week, the United States administration under President Donald Trump had suspended all military assistance to Pakistan, amounting to $225 million, until it took decisive action against terrorist groups, including the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help.

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Islamabad is calling a US decision to suspend security assistance "counterproductive".

The deadline for that is 30 September this year. Tillerson gave directions at the time of its expiry to keep $255 million separately and "withhold placing any of those funds on actual contacts". The US, he noted, wants "action against the Haqqani network". Pentagon spokesperson Commander Patrick Evans said that the entire $900 million would be frozen.

"That is what approximately USD2 billion worth of equipment and the Coalition support funding that that is in play", the official said.

The US has given almost $33 billion aid to Pakistan since 2002.

The Trump administration announced Thursday it was suspending - not ending, as proposed by Paul, or cancelling - almost all security related assistance to Pakistan, that includes foreign military financing, United States financial assistance to recipient country to buy USA military hardware, and Coalition Support Fund, a reimbursement for expenses incurred in support of IS-led global coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Islamabad maintains that it has fought world's biggest war on terror largely from its own resources for its own peace and security and for the regional and global peace as well. "We are determined to continue to do all it takes to secure the lives of our citizens and broader stability in the region", said the foreign office statement.

Reacting to Trump move, Pakistan had earlier said, "We are engaged with the US Administration on the issue of security cooperation and await further details", reported Times Now.

"The president has shown that he is willing to speak with clarity when he talks about Pakistan and our relationship", the official said.

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