Pakistan Slams US Aid Cuts: 'It Was Our Money' for Losses in War on Terror
This weekend, the Pentagon decided to strip Islamabad of $300 million in security assistance over its perceived failure to confront militants within its borders. The White House earlier accused Pakistan of proving safe havens for militant groups operating in Afghanistan, which Islamabad denied.
The $300 million fund earlier scrapped by the Pentagon was not aid but compensation from the US for the damage that Pakistan suffered in the war against terror, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Sunday, as quoted by the Karachi-based daily The News International.
"It was not aid. It was our money which was spent on the country's participation in the US war against terrorism," he said.
"Pakistan has sacrificed thousands of lives and spent huge amounts from their own resources against terrorism and now the US had to reimburse that amount under the Coalition Support Fund."
The statement comes ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Pakistan on Wednesday and after the Pentagon moved to cancel its so-called Coalition Support Funds to Pakistan. "Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining $300 (million) was reprogramed," a Pentagon spokesman said on Saturday.
The Pentagon's decision to scrap the multimillion package was announced after the US State Department suspended at least $900 million in aid to Pakistan in January, echoing Donald Trump's accusations that the country had responded to past assistance with "nothing but lies and deceit.
Last year, the US State Department claimed in its annual report that Islamabad was providing shelter to insurgent groups operating in neighboring Afghanistan and didn't limit their ability to threaten US interests in Afghanistan, which Pakistan denied.
The United States started the war in Afghanistan against the Taliban* following the September 11 attacks. Despite losing outright control of the country during the initial invasion, codenamed Operation Enduring Freedom, the Taliban regrouped to resist the US-backed national government. Ever since, the country's political, social and security situation has remained unstable due to the ongoing insurgency.
The Haqqani* militant group is an offshoot of Taliban which allegedly enjoys safe havens in northern Pakistan, across Afghanistan's southeastern border.
*The Taliban and the Haqqanis are terrorist groups outlawed in Russia
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|