Defence, intelligence cooperation with United States suspended

Ambassadors in Islamabad briefed on anti-terrorism efforts, challenges

The US on Wednesday hoped that Pakistan would demonstrate its willingness to aggressively confront terror groups that operate from its soil, amid reports that Islamabad has suspended Intelligence cooperation with America after the Trump administration froze military aid to it.

When asked to comment on Pakistan's reported move, U.S. under secretary of state Steve Goldstein said: "We're hopeful for future cooperation from Pakistan".

During his visit, Kay emphasised the importance of Pakistan and Afghanistan working together to build a constructive relationship, which leads to greater security and stability in the region, the statement said.

Referring to the USA suspension of Pakistan's aid, he said: "the recent suspension of military aid by the U.S. comes in the wake of a more grave suspension, which is suspension of the strategic dialogue for more than a year between the United States and Pakistan".

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Ijaz Awan, a retired major general in the Pakistani military, argued that the US has pursued a policy of "coercion" towards Pakistan and that the approach of pressure tactics will be counterproductive.

Defense experts think the USA allegations and halt to military aid have forced the Pakistani government to use its leverage as it has this option, in view of the growing US pressure and its use of the blame game.

Robin Raphel, a former assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, told VOA on Wednesday Washington and Islamabad's current policy of tit-for-tat will not advance either side's interest.

The US and others have long complained that Pakistan offered safe haven to the Afghan Taliban and their allies, the Haqqani Network, allowing them to carry out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

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And a former United States ambassador to Pakistan Richard G. Olson warned that the aid suspension would fail to force Pakistan to accept USA demands, as did two major U.S. newspapers - The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Although it is still not clear how much aid has been stopped, Mr Olson said the decision could affect about $1.3 billion worth of annual aid. "The specific individual things we're doing are best handled in private, to ensure that we can be most productive - and that's what we're working now".

The newspaper pointed out that the flow of money to the region from the United States had shrunk in recent years, and "Pakistan is not almost as reliant on U.S. assistance as it has been in the past". -Pakistani tensions following President Donald Trump's accusations that Pakistan was harboring militants and the withholding of American aid to Islamabad.

The FO spokesperson reiterated that Pakistan has sacrificed the most in the war against terrorism, which cost the country more than 120 billion dollars. "Security funding and pending deliveries will be frozen, but not cancelled or reprogrammed at this time".

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