Why it's so hard for USA to crack down on Pakistan

Some analysts have said there is no real way to pressure Pakistan, which believes keeping Kabul out of nemesis India's orbit is more important than clamping down on cross-border militancy.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the security spending would be suspended until Pakistan takes "decisive action" against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

Nauert told reporters that the suspension will remain in effect until Pakistan "takes decisive action" against groups, such as the Taliban, that are "destabilizing the region and targeting USA personnel". She said while working with. This led the U.S. to become critical of Pakistan's role in fighting terror, particularly on the matter of safe havens to terrorists.

Ahead of Nauert's remarks, military spokesman Maj.

The decision, which was announced Thursday, is meant to pressure Pakistan to help USA foreign policy priorities like clamping down on the Taliban in Afghanistan.

"Aid cuts will not hurt us", Pakistan's finance ministry head Miftah Ismail told Reuters.

India, who for decades has accused Pakistan of being a state-sponsor of terrorism, welcomed Trump's tweet.

Askari warned the suspension of millions of dollars in security assistance might see the USA lose crucial influence over Pakistan which will instead look to other countries for support.

The military aid, known as foreign military financing, "promotes the development of Pakistan's long-term [counter-insurgency/counter-terrorism] capabilities and improves Pakistan's ability to participate in maritime security operations and counter-maritime piracy", according to the State Department.

Nauert made clear the $255 million was still blocked.

Just a few days ago, the Donald Trump administration withheld $255 million military aid to Pakistan and said that things would stay that way until the country took action against the jihadists, militants and local terror outfits on its soil.

This is not the first time the US has cut assistance to Pakistan.

The George W. Bush administration waived those sanctions and reinstated aid following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but reduced it in 2008.

USA aid has been suspended before, notably after the USA raid on the Pakistani town of Abbotabad in 2011 that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Overall, Pakistan received almost $8 billion security aid in the form of arms transfers from the U.S., including F-16 fighter jets, AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters and P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, according to this CRS report on May 4, 2015.

Economic and humanitarian aid to Pakistan declined 77% from $1.1 billion in financial year 2012 to $246 million in financial year 2016.

But Pakistan entirely rejected Trump's accusations, and termed them unwarranted and detrimental to Pak-US relations.

Ghafoor said the U.S. had only reimbursed the expenditure which Pakistan had incurred while supporting coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Trump unveiled in August a South Asia strategy aimed at ending the stalemate in the US war in Afghanistan, now entering its 17th year. But it could end up backfiring by diminishing the cooperation between the USA and Pakistan to combat terror groups in the region.

Meanwhile, the State Department on Thursday also placed Pakistan on a "special watch list for severe violations of religious freedom, "Nauert said in a statement".

"We have contributed and sacrificed the most in fighting worldwide terrorism and carried out the largest counterterrorism operation anywhere in the world", Pakistan's U.N. Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said Wednesday. Conditions for the country's religious minorities, including Hindus, Christians and Ahmadis, are widely considered poor.

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