The US is reviewing its financial assistance to Pakistan in order to ensure solid steps are taken by Islamabad to fight terrorism including Haqqani.
Future Aid to Pakistan Conditional: US Congress
The US has said that any future military financing to Pakistan will be conditional – dependent on Islamabad’s practical measures taken against terrorist groups including the notorious Haqqani network.
Any future military financing will take into account Pakistan’s efforts to address America’s concerns with regard to their role in the fight against terrorism, a top US diplomat told US congressmen last week.
“We are conducting a review of our assistance, to ensure it is aligned with the level of cooperation we achieve in disrupting the Taliban, including the Haqqani Network,” Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing, reported Press Trust of India.
It is said that Congress has also taken into consideration Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba – but the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis will be reporting to Congress just about the Haqqani network.
“For example, before we move forward with future foreign military financing for Pakistan, the US will take into account Pakistan’s efforts to address these central concerns,” Wells told lawmakers.
She said the $100 million USD foreign military funding request is focused on enabling Pakistan to stabilize the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region and fight terrorism.
She added that in the fiscal year 2018 budgetary request is $344.6 million for Pakistan. This includes $241.1 million for civilian assistance and $103.5 million for security assistance.
Meanwhile, Afghan officials have said that Pakistan has not taken any solid steps against the Haqqani network, calling on the US Congress to take the issue into account.
Mattis was expected to brief Congress on Pakistan’s measures against Lashkar-e-Taiba and Haqqani network, but now Mattis will only brief the lawmakers about Pakistan’s measures about Taliban’s brutal affiliate Haqqani network.
On the basis of the new law, the US will freeze $350 million military assistance to Pakistan unless Mattis certifies Islamabad’s solid steps against Haqqani network.
"Our expectation from Pakistan is that it should no longer support the terrorists, we also request the international community to mount more pressure on Pakistan to take solid action against terrorists," said defense ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri.
Mattis is expected to report to Congress about the presence of Haqqani network’s safe havens and hideouts in Pakistan, the way the network recruits inside Pakistan and their activities along the Durand Line and Pakistan’s action against militant groups.
"So far we have not seen any solid action from Pakistan towards closing the hideouts of Haqqani network, Pakistan has done nothing," said former minister of interior affairs Mirza Mohammad Yarmand.
"I think Pakistan has deceived the US for years with its policies, this time also, Pakistan will take the money and it will spend the money on its forces instead of fighting terrorism," said military analyst Mohsin Mukhtar.
The Afghan government has for years blamed Haqqani network for plotting deadly attacks against Afghanistan in which hundreds of Afghan civilians and security force members have been killed and wounded. Kabul has also repeatedly accused the Pakistan government of providing safe havens to militant groups including Haqqani network.