United States suspends security assistance with Pakistan over Taliban attacks

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After a series of angry exchanges with Pakistan, the Trump administration announced Thursday it was suspending security aid to Islamabad until the country takes "decisive action" to fight militants based within its borders.

It came days after U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that Pakistan had rewarded past U.S. aid with "nothing but lies & deceit".

"Until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network, we consider them to be destabilizing the region and also targeting personnel", Nauert said.

The Trump administration on Thursday suspended almost all bilateral security aid to Pakistan and called out the Islamabad government over its record on religious freedom, sending an already troubled relationship to a new low in a clash over how to conduct the war against terrorists.

Although withholding security aid may anger the Pakistani military establishment and prompt short-term measures to appease U.S. officials, Chinese money is likely to fill the gap and the Trump administration's move is unlikely to alter Pakistan's fundamental interests in the region, said Harsh Pant, an global relations professor at King's College London.

The U.S. failed to behave as an ally and turned Islamabad into a "whipping boy" for its own shortcomings in Afghanistan, Pakistan's foreign minister said, after the Trump administration suspended security-related aid to the country.

Pakistan is a crucial gateway for USA military supplies destined for US and other troops fighting a 16-year-old war in neighboring, landlocked Afghanistan.

There were reports that more than $1 billion dollars in USA aid earmarked for Pakistan could be halted.

However, in its strongly worded reply, the Asian country through its foreign minister Khawaja Asif, said Trump is trying to blame Pakistan for its failure to win the war in Afghanistan.

Earlier, the NSC expressed its disappointment over Trump's anti-Pakistan statement but decided not to take measures in haste in reply to USA accusations.

He reiterated long-standing allegations that Pakistan gives "safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan". The U.S. Department of the Treasury, for example, could choose to broadly list senior Pakistani military officers who are known to maintain ties to terror groups and militants. "No more!" His outburst followed similarly acerbic criticism during an August 2017 speech unveiling a new strategy for Afghanistan.

USA officials have argued Pakistan's leniency on certain terror groups has fueled the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

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US officials outlined that two main categories of aid have been suspended.

Trump has accused Islamabad of providing a safe haven for terrorists.

Commenting on the recent developments pertaining to the Pak-US relations, Gen Ghafoor said no amount of compulsion can pressurise Pakistan on how to continue. Pakistan has summoned the USA ambassador, an embassy spokesman said January 2, in a rare public rebuke after Donald Trump lashed out at Islamabad with threats to cut aid over "lies" about militancy. "Working towards enduring peace requires mutual respect and trust along with patience and persistence", Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert was unable to put a dollar sum on the funds that will be frozen, but said it was in addition to the $255 in military aid it has already put on hold.

"We can review our cooperation if it is not appreciated", she said. "The Trump administration has likely sketched out an escalation strategy, and would be wise to pause after Thursday's announcement to give Pakistan the opportunity to quietly address U.S. concerns".