US to delay $300 mn aid to Pak over ‘inadequate’ counter terror efforts

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan might be deprived of the US aid worth hundreds of millions of dollars over ‘not doing enough’ to combat insurgent groups within its territory that allegedly plan and coordinate attacks in the neighbouring Afghanistan,” The Washington Post reported.

“The Pentagon could delay payment of $300 million to Pakistan as the US Congress made part of this year’s $1.1 billion payment contingent on Pakistan’s willingness to crack down on the Haqqani network,” the newspaper quoted US and Pakistani officials as saying.

The Haqqani network is a Pakistan-based group affiliated with the Taliban and is responsible for carrying out some of the deadliest attacks during the Afghan war.

“Although most of the 2015 payment is moving through the pipeline, the Pentagon recently informed authorities in Pakistan that a final $300 million may be withheld if the US defence secretary cannot certify sufficient action against the militant group,” the officials claimed.

However, delaying of payment could adversely affect the US-Pakistan relations, which have greatly improved in the past year.

The news of payment delay comes after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recently lashed out at Pakistan, claiming the country still remains a breeding ground from where mercenaries send us messages of war.

Meanwhile, the Afghan president and other officials have urged the US to get tougher on Pakistan over alleged ties of the Pakistani intelligence agencies with the Haqqani network.

 “The full payment is important to us both politically and financially as we are in the middle of a major military offensive in the western tribal regions,” a Pakistani foreign ministry official told the US-based newspaper on the condition of anonymity.

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah, however, refused to comment on the development last week, claiming the Pakistani and the US officials were “engaged in consultations on various issues, including the future of the Coalition Support Fund.”

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