US continues to press Pakistan to 'indiscriminately' target terror groups
Washington, Sep 3: The US continues to press Pakistan to "indiscriminately target" all terrorist groups, including the Haqqani Network, the Pentagon said on Sunday, claiming that recent reports distorted details of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF).
The remark comes amid news reports that the US has suspended USD 300 million in military aid to Pakistan as Islamabad was not doing enough to tackle militant groups.
"Unfortunately, recent reporting has distorted the details of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) by stating several things out of context. The suspension of security assistance to Pakistan was announced in January 2018," Pentagon spokesman Lt Col Kon Faulkner said.
He said, "The CSF is included in the suspension and it remains in place. This is not a new decision or a new announcement, but an acknowledgement of a July request to reprogram funds before they expire."
Faulkner said since January, they have consistently engaged with Pakistani military officials at the highest levels, based on both a shared commitment to defeat all terrorist groups that threaten regional stability and security, as well as on a shared vision of a peaceful future for Afghanistan.
"We continue to press Pakistan to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups, including the Haqqani Network an LeT, and we continue to call on Pakistan to arrest, expel or bring the Taliban leadership to the negotiating table," he said.
Faulkner noted that the 2018 DoD Appropriations Act, published on March 23, details USD 500 million was rescinded by the Congress.
Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy, the remaining USD 300 million was reprogrammed by the Department of Defense (DoD) in July 2018 time frame for other urgent priorities before the funds expire on September 30, he said.
The department is awaiting congressional determination on whether this reprogramming request will be approved or denied.
"The DoD will have a congressional response before September 30, 2018, to allow the DoD to implement the reprogramming actions," the spokesman said.
Fresh news reports about suspension of the CSF is expected to further strain US-Pak relationship, which comes ahead of the Islamabad visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The top American diplomat is expected to raise issues related to counter terrorism during his meetings with the top Pakistani leaders.
Pakistan has dismissed all such reports about suspension in US aid, arguing that the United States owed the money to it for expenses incurred on fighting terrorism. "It is not a cut in any [US] aid, it is not assistance.
This is our own money which we have used for improving regional security situation and they had to reimburse it to us," Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters in Islamabad.