"We can confirm that we are suspending security assistance to Pakistan at this time," said Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for the US State Department.
"The United States will not deliver military equipment or provide security assistance to Pakistan unless required by law," the spokeswoman added. Until the Pakistani government proves without a doubt decisive action has been taken against terrorist groups in Pakistan, the official said, Washington will consider Pakistan to be "destabilizing the region and also targeting US personnel."
There may be some exceptions to the new policy, however, the State Department said, without clarifying what particular funds or military equipment might be excluded from the policy.
Earlier in the week, Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, announced that the US would cut funding to Pakistan by $255 million. "Pakistan has played a double game for years," Haley told reporters in New York on Tuesday. "They work with us at times, and they also harbor the terrorists who attack our troops in Afghanistan," the ambassador noted. "That game is not acceptable to this administration."
A US official said Thursday that in fact more than $255 million in aid would be suspended.
The policy change follows several tweets from US President Donald Trump blasting Pakistan.
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
In late August, Trump delivered remarks laying out the administration's strategy in South Asia. "The next pillar of our strategy is to change the approach and how to deal with Pakistan. We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists," Trump stated.
Pakistan has been a "valued partner" in the past, the US leader said, "but Pakistan has also sheltered the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people. We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same they are housing the very terrorists we are fighting."
Last October, Trump claimed US-Pakistani relations showed signs of improvement, but the new policy change would seem to be evidence those ties have deteriorated.
Starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders. I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2017