Pentagon Withholds $50 Million in Military Aid to Pakistan

U.S. Secretary for Defense Jim Mattis, center, arrives for a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, June 29, 2017. NATO defense ministers met Thursday to discuss, among other issues, the situation in Afghanistan and defense spending. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

The Pentagon has withheld tens of millions of dollars remaining in military aid to Pakistan after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis decided that Islamabad was not taking enough action to counter the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network.

“This is simply an assessment of the current state of play,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon Friday. “It’s not a policy. It is a reality.”

The U.S. has declined to make military reimbursements in the past, withholding $300 million last year. Pakistan has already been reimbursed $550 million of the $900 million it was authorized to receive in fiscal year 2016.

Mattis’ decision affects $50 million that was previously earmarked for Pakistan.

Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said Mattis “could not certify that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani network per the requirement in the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA].”

Money is reprogrammed

Stump said the money is being reprogrammed to be used for other requirements.

The decision comes as President Donald Trump’s administration is exploring its approach toward Pakistan in developing a regional policy aimed at fighting Taliban militants and Islamic State fighters in neighboring Afghanistan.

“This decision does not prejudge the conclusions of the White House review of South Asia strategy, which is still ongoing,” Stump said, adding that the decision also “does not reduce the significance of the sacrifices that the Pakistani military has undertaken over previous years.”

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SOURCE: NPR, Carla Babb