Trump admin suspends security assistance to Pakistan

The Trump administration is suspending security assistance to Pakistan amid frustration with Islamabad’s failure to combat terrorist networks operating in the country, the State Department announced Thursday.

Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the department, said at a press briefing that the U.S. would freeze military equipment deliveries and transfers of security-related funds to Pakistan. She said the administration is still working out the dollar amounts of the cuts.

The U.S. will also freeze reimbursements to the Pakistani government for money spent on conducting counterterrorism operations, Nauert said.


“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.

Nauert said that there “may be some exceptions that are made on a case-by-case basis if determined to be critical to national security interests.”

The announcement came two days after Trump railed against U.S. assistance to Pakistan, saying that Washington gives the country "billions of dollars" and gets "nothing" in return. 

It also came days after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyHaley slams Palestinian president on peace process at the UN: 'We will not chase after you' Washington puts Ethiopia's human rights abusers on notice Palestinian diplomat: Trump ‘disqualified America’ from being sole broker in Middle East peace deal MORE confirmed that the U.S. would withhold $255 million in aid from Pakistan amid frustration over its failure to fight terrorist groups.

The U.S. has provided more than $33 billion in assistance to Pakistan since 2002.

Frustration with Islamabad’s failure to confront terrorist groups operating within Pakistan is not unique to the Trump administration but the move to cut security aid to the country on Thursday signals a new effort to pressure Pakistan to do more to combat militant groups operating in the region.

Earlier on Thursday, the State Department announced that it had added Pakistan to a “special watch list” for severe violations of religious freedom amid concerns about the country’s treatment of religious minorities.

- This report was updated at 3:50 p.m.