11:09 GMT +313 December 2018
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    US Cuts $300 Million in Aid to Pakistan Over Failure to Tackle Terrorists

    © AFP 2018 / MARK RALSTON
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    Combined with earlier cuts, the total amount of aid cut off to Pakistan has reached $800 million.

    The US Department of Defense has canceled $300 million worth of aid to Pakistan citing Islamabad's failure to decisively engage terrorists on its soil.

    "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, according to The Independent.

    Earlier this year, the US stripped Pakistan of $500 million worth of aid, making the total loss $800 million.

    The announcement comes months after US President Donald Trump blasted Islamabad for rewarding the country with "nothing but lies and deceit," despite Washington's repeated help.

    The US accuses Pakistan of granting safe haven to terrorists and militants who are waging a 17-year-old war in neighboring Afghanistan, a charge Islamabad vehemently denies. 

    The allocated money will be spent on "other urgent priorities" if approved by Congress, Faulkner added.

    Experts have noted that this decision will increase pressure on Islamabad's security apparatus at a time when Pakistan's economy continues to struggle, The Independent reports.

    "It is a calibrated, incremental ratcheting up of pressure on Pakistan," says Sameer Lalwani, co-director of the South Asia program at the Stimson Center think tank in Washington. "They are squeezing them when they know that they're vulnerable and it is probably a signal about what to expect should Pakistan come to the IMF for a loan," Mr. Lalwani said, referring to Islamabad mulling turning to the IMF for a bailout.

    As Sputnik earlier reported, heavy Chinese investment into Pakistani infrastructure boosted Islamabad's GDP growth by six percent, but took down the national currency 19 percent, threatening the country's economy with massive destabilization. Pakistan has reportedly been thinking of turning to the IMF for a bailout in order to pay its debts to Beijing, which US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned against. Should the IMF reject a Pakistani request for monetary assistance, Islamabad will have to somehow restructure its debt to China.

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    aid, economy, Pentagon, Kone Faulkner, United States, Pakistan
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