The U.S. military made a decision that it should have made a long time ago and has finally decided to cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan after their capital, Islamabad, has failed to take decisive action against militants that reside within its borders. Placing an end to the financial aid that the United States was providing the country of Pakistan is one more blow to a relationship that has already been deteriorating for a while. This $300 million that was recently put to an end was part of a bigger suspension in aid to the country of Pakistan that President Trump announced at the start of the year when he accused Pakistan of paying back past assistance that has been provided to them with lies and deceit.
The Trump administration strongly believes that Islamabad has been assisting insurgents who are part of a 17 year old war in Afghanistan. These beliefs are something that the country of Pakistan has tried to deny despite the evidence that the Trump administration feels proves otherwise. The reason that the money was completely ended earlier in the year instead of now is because U.S. officials gave Pakistan the benefit of the doubt and tried to believe that with alterations to its behavior Pakistan could redeem itself and win back the support that the United States once provided it with.
If he saw concrete Pakistani actions to go after the insurgents that Islamabad is believed to be providing safe haven to U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had the authority to release the Coalition Support Funds to Pakistan earlier this summer. It can only be assumed that Mattis did not see what he felt was the concrete efforts that would have justified the release of this money since he chose not to do it when he could have.
A spokesperson for the Pentagon Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said, “due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining $300 (million) was reprogrammed.”
If they can get their plans for the money approved by Congress the Pentagon intends to take that $300 million and put it toward what it considers other urgent priorities. When we take the $300 million that was just recently taken away from Pakistan and add it to the $500 million that was taken from Pakistan earlier this year by Congress that brings the total to $800 million that has been withheld from Pakistan since the start of the year.
The information that Pakistan would not be receiving this money was released before U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the top U.S. military officer, General Joseph Dunford are expected to visit Islamabad. According to Mattis taking actions against insurgents will be a primary part of the discussion that takes place between Pompeo and Pakistani officials.
The recent decision from the Pentagon is evidence that the United States is still increasing the pressure on Pakistan to change its behavior. It serves as further evidence that the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, has failed to deliver the kind of changes that officials in Washington D.C. desire to see. It was first reported in August that the Trump administration has quietly started to eliminate Pakistani officers from training and educational programs that have been a huge part of military relations between the United States and Pakistan for more than a decade.
This was not the first time that the Pentagon has made these kind of determinations. Although they have made similar determinations in the past, this year those determinations made by the Pentagon may draw more attention from Islamabad and its new prime minister since they come at a time when the country of Pakistan is having to contend with economic struggles.
Over the past year the foreign exchange reserves of Pakistan has experienced a serious decline as they have plummeted like a rock through water. These economic issues that Pakistan is currently having to deal with at a time when they just lost $300 million in aid from the United States may cause them to try to seek a financial bail out from the International Monetary Fund or assistance from nations that it still remains on good terms with such as China. However, should the country of Pakistan try to approach the IMF for a financial bail out it may be of interest to know that the United States has the largest share of votes at the IMF.
Although the country of Pakistan has lost any hope that it had of receiving aid from the United States this year, with the right changes in their country Pakistan could again be eligible for aid from the Coalition Support Funds.