US continues to press Pakistan to ‘indiscriminately’ target terror groups, says Pentagon

By: | Updated: September 3, 2018 11:15 AM

The US has consistently engaged with Pakistan's top military officials, pressing them to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups that threaten regional stability and security, the Pentagon has said.

us news, pakistan news, us pakistan news, imran khan paksitan pm, imran khan news, imran khan prime ministerThe 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. (Reuters)

The US has consistently engaged with Pakistan’s top military officials, pressing them to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups that threaten regional stability and security, the Pentagon has said. The remark comes after the Pentagon on Saturday said it will reprogramme USD 300 million of its Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for Pakistan due to its failure to tackle militant groups.

The Pentagon’s move, which needs to be approved by the US Congress, is part of a broader suspension of aid announced in January. “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 on Sunday. “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 reprogramme funds before they expire,” he said.

Faulkner said since January, the US has 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noted that the 2018 Department of Defence (DoD) Appropriations Act, published on March 23, details USD 500 million was rescinded by the Congress.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 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. The move 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.

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