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September 16, 2018
The Kabul Times
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Aid suspension, effective punitive action against Pakistan

The Trump administration’s decision to suspend military aid to Pakistan is one of the most significant U.S. punitive actions against Pakistan since 2001. The United States has long been frustrated with Pakistan’s persistent acquiescence to safe havens for the Taliban and its vicious Haqqani branch.
Worse yet, Pakistan has provided direct military and intelligence aid to both groups, resulting in the deaths of U.S. soldiers, Afghan security personnel, and civilians, plus significant destabilization of Afghanistan.
Previous U.S. efforts since the 9/11 attacks to persuade Pakistan to crack down—through military and economic largess, as well as through punitive measures—have failed. Many in the U.S. policy community, who have long called for greater pressure, are delighted to finally see Washington run tougher experiments in coercion.
But although U.S. grievances are just, the suspension of military aid, and other possible pressure increased U.S. coercion, are most unlikely to get Pakistan to fundamentally alter its behavior.
Recently, the Pentagon has announced scrapping $300m in military aid to Pakistan, accusing the South Asian ally of failing to take decisive actions against insurgents.
“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining $300 (million) was reprogrammed,” a Pentagon spokesman was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said the US military said would ask Congress for approval to divert the funds for other tasks. In case of a congressional not, the money will be spent on urgent priorities.
At the start of 2018, President Donald Trump suspended the Coalition Support Funds (CSF) and other aid to Pakistan, blaming Islamabad of aiding insurgents in Afghanistan.Faulkner said another $500 million in CSF was stripped by Congress from Pakistan earlier this year, to bring the total withheld to $800 million
Pakistan has long been a difficult and disruptive neighbor to Afghanistan. It has augmented Afghanistan’s instability by providing intelligence, weapons, and protection to the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. But years of U.S. pressure on Islamabad and Rawalpindi (the seats of Pakistan’s government and military establishments, respectively)—alternating with economic aid and efforts to forge a strategic partnership—have failed to induce Pakistan to change.
Meanwhile, suspending military aid to Pakistan—and perhaps even permanently discontinuing it in the future, if Pakistan does not change its behavior—was the most directly available coercive tool for the United States.
But quite apart from the political outrage it has generated in Pakistan, the pain it delivers is quite limited. Parts of the Coalition Support Fund—designed to enable Pakistan to go after counterterrorism targets and militant groups— have been suspended for a long time because of Pakistan’s continued support for the Haqqanis and other terrorist groups.

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