Pentagon freezes $900M in security assistance for Pakistan

Pentagon freezes $900M in security assistance for Pakistan
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The Pentagon on Monday announced it was withholding $900 million in security assistance for Pakistan.

The fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provides up to $900 million for Pakistan in Coalition Support Funds (CSF) between Oct. 1, 2016, and Oct. 1, 2018.

“That amount has been suspended, not cancelled or reprogrammed, as we continue to hope that Pakistan will take decisive action against the terrorist and militant groups that we seek,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Andrews said in a statement to The Hill.

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Of the $900 million, $400 million can only be released if the department “certifies the Pakistan government has made significant progress against the Haqqani network,” Andrews said.

Defense Secretary James Mattis has not yet made a decision on the certification required by the NDAA, and no fiscal 2017 funds have yet been disbursed to Pakistan.

The Pentagon’s last CSF disbursement to the country was $550 million from fiscal 2016 in late February or early March 2017, Andrews said.

The Trump administration last week suspended security assistance to Pakistan — including military equipment deliveries, transfers of security-related funds and reimbursements for counterterrorism operations — due to its failure to combat terrorist networks within its borders. The cuts are estimated to be worth up to $2 billion in Pentagon and State Department dollars.

“Our expectations are straightforward: Taliban and Haqqani leadership and attack planners should no longer be able to find safe haven or conduct operations from Pakistani soil,” Andrews said.

Mattis said last week that the U.S. military was still working with the country to keep open and running military supply lines that run from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

Mattis told reporters that he had “no indication” and is “not concerned” that Pakistan will close its airspace or supply lines.