US to provide $255m worth of ‘conditional’ military assistance to Pakistan

The Trump administration notified Congress on Wednesday that it was putting USD 255 million in military assistance to Pakistan, The New York Times reported.

The announcement comes a week after US President Donald Trump lashed at Pakistan for giving safe havens to terror groups that kill Americans in Afghanistan. He also warned Pakistan that it has “much to lose” by ‘harbouring terrorists’.

The proposed assistance will be put in the equivalent of an escrow account that Islamabad can only access if it does more to crack down on internal terror networks launching attacks on neighbouring Afghanistan.

An escrow account is an account of conditional deposition where the funds are kept blocked until the pre-agreed conditions are met.

The United States has provided Pakistan $33 billion in aid since 2002. However the move comes at a time when the alliance between the two countries has strained.

Pakistan National Assembly passed a resolution alleging that the recent statements of the US President on Pakistan were hostile and threatening.

American officials still see Pakistan playing an important role in facilitating supply shipments to the United States military in Afghanistan. The US, however, insists that it wants Pakistan to take action against terrorist groups.

“Once Pakistan more aggressively pursues the Taliban and Haqqani network, the aid will be released — a determination to be made by Secretary of State Tillerson,” officials were quoted by the report as saying.

Earlier, the US State Department said it wants Pakistan to take decisive actions against terrorist groups and safe havens.

“We value our cooperation with Pakistan and want to see it continue,” a State Department spokesperson told PTI.

“The President has been clear that we are looking to the Pakistani government to take decisive action against militant groups based in Pakistan that are a threat to the region. It is vital to US interests that Pakistan prevent terrorist sanctuaries,” the spokesperson said.

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