January 5, 2018
Pakistan has denounced as “counterproductive” Washington’s decision to suspend millions of dollars in security aid to Islamabad.
“Arbitrary deadlines, unilateral pronouncements and shifting goalposts are counterproductive in addressing common threats,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
The statement said Islamabad was “engaged” with US officials and awaiting further details.
The statement stressed the importance of cooperation now more than ever amid emerging threats such as the growing presence of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region.
The statement comes a day after US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at least $900 million in security assistance to Pakistan would be suspended until the government in Islamabad addressed the issue of the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network militant groups. She declined to put a figure on exactly how much aid would be suspended.
Washington will also continue to suspend $255 million in foreign military financing that has been held up since last year.
The United States has long accused Islamabad of allowing the Haqqani network, which is an affiliate of the Taliban militant group, to operate relatively freely in Pakistan’s porous border regions to carry out operations in Afghanistan. Islamabad denies the accusation, saying Washington is overlooking Pakistan’s sacrifices in its fight against terrorism.
Washington’s decision sparked protests in Pakistan on Friday, including in Chaman, one of the country’s two main border crossings with Afghanistan.
Hundreds of people took part in the protests, chanting anti-US slogans.
“We don’t need any type of aid. Almighty Allah is with us and he is giving us everything,” Mohammad Saleem, one of the demonstrators, said. He added that he had a message for Donald Trump, “Don’t threaten us.”
The relations between the US and Pakistan soured after US President Donald Trump said in his first tweet of 2018 that Washington had “foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years.”
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