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 on Monday.
“Our expectations are straightforward,” Pentagon spokesperson 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,” he maintained.
Last week, US 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 White House earlier confirmed that an already-delayed $255 million military aid to Pakistan had been blocked.
“The United States does not plan to spend the $255 million in FY 2016 foreign military financing for Pakistan at this time,” CNN <link> quoted a National Security Council spokesperson as saying.
“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.
Islamabad denies those allegations and has called Trump’s decision to threaten funding “counterproductive”.