The US has conveyed “specific and concrete” steps to Pakistan that it could take to eliminate terror networks on its soil without any distinction, a Pentagon official said today. The remarks came as the US in recent days stepped up efforts to put pressure on Pakistan to do more to combat terrorism. The Trump administration last week suspended nearly USD 2 billion in security assistance to Pakistan for its failure to take decisive action against terror groups like the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. “Our expectations are straight forward: Taliban and Haqqani leadership and attack planners should no longer be able to find safe haven or conduct operations from Pakistani soil,” Pentagon Press Secretary Army Col Rob Manning told reporters during an off-camera news conference. He said the US had conveyed “specific and concrete steps” to Pakistan that it could take to eliminate terror networks on its soil. “We stand ready to work together with Pakistan to combat terrorist groups without distinction,” Manning said. He reiterated that the amount — USD 900 million in the Coalition Support Fund to Pakistan — has been suspended, not cancelled or reprogrammed. This amount is a part of the security assistance to Pakistan. “The amount has been suspended, not cancelled or reprogrammed, as we continue to hope that Pakistan will take decisive action against the terrorist and militant groups that we seek.
“This suspension is not a permanent cutoff at this time. Security funding and pending deliveries will be frozen, but not cancelled or reprogrammed at this time,” Manning said. The Fiscal Year 17 National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) provides up to USD 900 million for Pakistan in Coalition Support Funds (CSF). The CSF is a two-year fund, and the FY17 CSF began on October 1, 2016 and ends on October 1, 2018. Of the USD 900 million, USD 400 million can only be released if the Department of Defence certifies that the Pakistani government has made a significant progress against the Haqqani network.
“The Secretary has not yet made a decision on the certification required by the FY17 NDAA. We cannot speculate on a future FY18 NDAA,” Manning said, adding that “to date, no FY17 CSF have been disbursed to Pakistan”. “We last disbursed USD 550 million of FY16 CSF to Pakistan in late February-early March 2017,” he said.