US cancels $300 million in aid to Pakistan over failure to take action against terrorists

The U.S. military said it has made a final decision to cancel $300 million in aid to Pakistan that had been suspended over Islamabad’s failure to take action against terrorists, in a new blow to deteriorating ties.

The so-called Coalition Support Funds were part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan announced by President Donald Trump at the start of the year when he accused Pakistan of rewarding past assistance with “nothing but lies & deceit.”

Islamabad is granting safe haven to terrorists who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighboring Afghanistan.

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U.S. officials had held out the possibility that Pakistan could win back that support if it changed its behavior.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in particular, had an opportunity to authorize $300 million in CSF funds through this summer – if he saw concrete Pakistani actions to go after terrorists. Mattis chose not to, a U.S. official told Reuters.

“Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining $300 (million) was reprogrammed,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner said.

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The disclosure came ahead of an expected visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the top U.S. military officer, General Joseph Dunford, to Islamabad. Mattis told reporters on Tuesday that combating terrorists would be a “primary part of the discussion.”

Experts on the Afghan conflict, America’s longest war, argue that terrorists safe havens in Pakistan have allowed Taliban-linked terrorists in Afghanistan a place to plot deadly terror attacks and regroup after ground offensives.