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Washington Closes Its Wallet To Pakistan

REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter deprived Pakistan of $300 million in military aid since the country isn’t taking sufficient actions against terrorist groups, The Washington Post reports.

Pakistan tacitly and outright supports terrorist groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network, which undermine U.S. interests in Afghanistan and are directly responsible for thousands of U.S. troop deaths. Since 2002, the U.S. has provided $13 billion in military aid to Pakistan in exchange for supply routes to U.S. bases in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s military is dependent on U.S. military aid, and reportedly uses it to pay for food and ammunition. Pakistan faces a growing threat of Islamic terrorism in its northwestern provinces, but only dedicates one-third of its military strength combatting terrorism. The remainder of its military is oriented towards India, in its territorial dispute over Kashmir.

“We are very focused on making sure that the appropriate incentives are out there in making sure Pakistan acts in a manner that is consistent with both of our national security interests, and certainly with ours,” one senior House Armed Services Committee staffer told The Washington Post.

The Obama administration’s move marks the first time in nearly 14 years the U.S. has seriously punished Pakistan for supporting terrorist groups. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has repeatedly asked President Barack Obama to get tougher on Pakistan to quell the violence in Afghanistan.

The Obama administration was forced to reverse its scheduled troop drawdown in Afghanistan, after the Taliban made extraordinary gains since the end of the U.S. combat mission in 2014.

Despite Pakistan’s assurances, elements of the country’s intelligence services continue to support radical elements in Afghanistan and India.

Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan on May 22, after reports indicated he had lived openly in Pakistan for nearly a decade. An October 2015 profile of Mansour indicates he was heavily guarded by Pakistan’s intelligence service, lived in a giant mansion, and owned several Pakistani telecom companies.

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