United States military to cancel over $300 million in aid to Pakistan

Pakistani demonstrators shout anti-US slogans at a protest in Quetta

Pakistani demonstrators shout anti-US slogans at a protest in Quetta

"Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, the remaining $300m was reprogrammed", Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said on Saturday.

The Defense Department "is awaiting congressional determination on whether this reprogramming request will be approved or denied", Mr Faulkner said.

The U.S. has been pushing Pakistan to crack down on militant safe havens in the country, and announced a freeze on aid at the beginning of the year that an official said could be worth nearly $2 billion.

But US officials accuse Islamabad of ignoring or even collaborating with groups that attack Afghanistan from safe havens along the border between the two countries.

He said another $500 million in CSF was stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, to bring the total withheld to $800 million.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on August 28 that the fight against militants would be a "primary part of the discussion" when the USA officials meet with new Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Kahn and others.

Defense chief Jim Mattis told reporters last week that militants will be a "primary part of their discussion".

The Pentagon is shown in Arlington, Virginia, US.

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It also underscored that Islamabad has yet to deliver the kind of change sought by Washington.

This isn't the first time the Pentagon has canceled these kinds of funds but this year, as Pakistan's economy struggles, the move may get more attention from Imran Khan, the new leader.

"They are squeezing them when they know that they're vulnerable and it is probably a signal about what to expect should Pakistan come to the International Monetary Fund for a loan", Lalwani said. The United States has taken a crucial decision to stop its financial aid to Pakistan.

As for Khan, he has opposed America's open-ended presence in Afghanistan and once suggested he might order USA drones to be shot down if they enter Pakistan's airspace. In his victory speech, he said he wanted "mutually beneficial' relations with Washington".

The Coalition Support Funds technically offer reimbursement to Pakistan's military for its operations against terrorists, of which army officials often lament a lack of recognition - particularly given a drastic reduction in terrorist attacks within Pakistan since a campaign launched in 2014.

The Haqqani network is a militant group that focuses most of its activities on neighbouring Afghanistan, which has complained for years that Pakistan allows it to operate unimpeded from its soil across the border.

Pakistan has received more than US$33 billion in USA assistance since 2002, including more than US$14 billion in so-called Coalition Support Funds, a Pentagon program that reimburses allies for counterinsurgency operations that support U.S. military objectives, Reuters reported.

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