US Suspends Security Assistance to Pakistan
The US is suspending security assistance to Pakistan worth two billion USD after US President Donald Trump accused Islamabad of refusing to crack down on terrorism, fuelling resentment in an uneven ally that is tilting increasingly towards China.
Washington has relied on Pakistan to pursue Islamist militants at home and in neighbouring Afghanistan, but has struggled to maintain trust with the country, where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden lived until he was killed in a covert US raid in 2011.
A senior administration official said on Friday that the suspensions amount to "approximately 2 billion USD " and were the result of US frustrations with Pakistan hosting Islamist militant leaders, four days after Trump threatened to cut aid to the US ally in a New Year's Day tweet.
The suspension, which prevents delivery of previously agreed military equipment as well as security-related funding, was first announced by the state department on Thursday.
According to media reports, the US had already suspended 255 million USD in military aid in August, a figure included in the overall total.
Meanwhile Abida Hussain, a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, said the US move could prompt Islamabad to shut down supply routes used by the US for its troops in Afghanistan. It had previously done this in 2011 after 26 of its troops were killed in an accidental NATO attack.