Mattis decides to withhold U.S. cash from key Pakistani military fund

Mattis decides to withhold U.S. cash from key Pakistani military fund

Mattis decides to withhold U.S. cash from key Pakistani military fund

Secretary of Defense James Mattis informed the Congress that he was unable to certify that Islamabad "has taken sufficient action against the Afghan Taliban".

In what could be the blow for Pakistan is United States of America has made a decision to block $350mn payable to Pakistan towards coalition support after it has been convinced that Pakistan has not taken enough steps to eliminate Haqqani Terror Network.

Of the rest, $300 million had already been reprogrammed for other purposes, but had not been previously reported.

"It may be noted that the funds in question are a reimbursement of the expenses incurred by Pakistan towards achieving our common objectives in the fight against terrorism, and not an assistance", Pakistan's ambassador to the US Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, said in a statement.

The meeting did not focus on troop levels in Afghanistan, but a broader view of the region and the USA strategy regarding Pakistan, which has provided a haven for the Taliban, the Post reported. However the spokesperson said the decision is not related to the policy review.

This is the second time these funds have been withheld from Islamabad. As a result of the notification by Defence Secretary Mattis to Congress, the Department of Defence has reprogrammed remaining Coalition Support Funds, which is Dollars 350 million, to other accounts, Stump said.

The meeting Thursday - Trump's second visit to the Pentagon as commander in chief - provided the president an overall view of global threats, USA military operations and other government functions worldwide, said Dana W. White, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

Experts agree there is a need to take a tougher stance against Pakistan for allegedly providing haven to the most notorious terror groups, including but not limited to, the Haqqani network.

The 2018 budget, which has yet to be finalized on Capitol Hill, seeks $800 million in funds for Pakistan.

Trump has given Mattis and his commanders more power to call in strikes and make decisions, rather than checking everything with Washington or US Central Command in Florida.

Pakistan is the largest recipient of Coalition Support Fund reimbursements, having received more than $14 billion since 2002, according to the Pentagon.

The US state department's "Country Report on Terrorism 2016" released on Wednesday also claimed that "Pakistan did not take sufficient action against other externally focused groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in 2016, which continued to operate, train, organise, and fundraise in Pakistan".

The war in Afghanistan received little attention on the campaign trail a year ago, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump focusing on the USA -led coalition to defeat the terrorist group known as ISIS or ISIL.

Pakistan rejected the charges on Thursday.

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