announced the suspension of all military aid to Pakistan.

Relations between the two former allies in the war on terror plummeted last week after Trump targeted Pakistan in a tweet, saying that Pakistan had given the U.S. only "lies and deceit".

"You can eliminate some, but the thing is, the Pakistanis already believe the US has a very short attention span", he said.

A report in The Washington Post had indicated in December that a decision was imminent. "But one tweet from Trump managed to achieve what months of intense pressure and lobbying from Beijing could not", the SCMP article observed.

The Trump administration on Thursday announced its intention to suspend an estimated $1 billion in military aid to Pakistan due to years of "lies & deceit". "Pakistan has played a double game for years". For Indians, Trump's tweet and the suspension of funds was a moment of vindication. But the unfortunate reality is that publicly shaming Pakistan, as Trump has done, and even the cuts in the security aid have very little real impact on a country whose skin has grown comfortably thick from rhetorical battering.


The decision, which was announced Thursday, is meant to pressure Pakistan to help US foreign policy priorities like clamping down on the Taliban in Afghanistan.

It is telling that (notwithstanding the temptation to gloat) India's foreign ministry avoided any hasty comment on Trump's Twitter rant.

In 2015, $300 million of the Pentagon's Coalition Support Funds were made conditional on Pakistan acting against the Haqqani network terrorist group in Afghanistan - Pakistan's main spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, has always been accused of patronizing and protecting the group.

Frankly, none of it has worked.

The key element in the new USA strategy for Afghanistan is to launch a two-pronged military offensive that inflicts a military defeat on the Taliban and forces them to join the Afghan reconciliation process on Kabul's conditions, diplomatic sources told Dawn News. Pakistan closed them once before, after a 2011 U.S.

USA officials have already indicated that there could be "exemptions" for programs deemed vital to U.S. national security - likely including cash for keeping Pakistan's nuclear weapons safe.


"Unless we deal with the Pakistan sanctuary issue, it will undermine all of our other efforts in Afghanistan", the senior official said. This release outraged India and the White House condemned it.

The Trump administration, however, does not seem much interested in the Pakistani argument, at least for now.

Similarly, the Afghan ambassador to the United States, Hamdullah Mohib, and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai both welcomed the tweet. There were also "detailed" discussions during high level visits by defence secretary Jim Mattis and secretary of state Rex Tillerson's and in their meetings with Pakistani foreign minister Khwaja Asif to Washington. This is notwithstanding the recent differences between Beijing and Islamabad regarding some of the financial aspects of a hydro-power project under the omnimbus $57 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It includes the Dollars 255 million in FMF (foreign military funding) that was notified to Congress in August of past year. This is not the sweeping cut off that Trump implied in his braggadocios tweet.

Not waiting for the shrillness of Mr. Trump's New Year tweet to die down, Islamabad hit back with a potent riposte. This is hardly a sweeping punishment that will persuade Pakistan to begin acting against terrorism. Therefore, Pakistan's funds under FMF for FY 2016 were lapsing in September 2017.

The US has given almost $33 billion aid to Pakistan since 2002. The most lucrative payouts have been through the CSF programme, which totals more than $14.5 bn.


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