President Trump has stepped up the use of foreign aid cuts as a foreign policy tool, The Hill reports.
The Trump administration moved on Thursday to suspend security assistance to Pakistan, signaling a new attempt to pressure Islamabad to crack down on terrorist networks operating in the country.
The announcement, which came at a State Department press briefing, made good on a threat leveled by Trump earlier this week. The president had lashed out Tuesday against Pakistan in a tweet, accusing Islamabad giving the U.S. “nothing” in return for billions of dollars in aid.
Trump followed up on the tweet with another threatening assistance to Palestinians unless they agreed to restart negotiations with Israel — an endeavor the Palestinians had abandoned after Trump broke with precedent in December and said that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday that the U.S. would cease transfers of security funding to the Pakistanis and halt any deliveries of military equipment to the country. The exact dollar amounts of the cuts were still being hammered out, Nauert said, though she noted they would be significant.
The move came after years of U.S. frustration with Pakistan, which is seen as unwilling to fully pursue terrorist networks. U.S. officials have long decried Islamabad’s failure to eliminate safe havens for militant groups like the Taliban or the affiliated Haqqani network, while also grappling with how to ensure its cooperation as a counterterrorism partner.
Pakistani officials have countered that the U.S. has failed to acknowledge Islamabad’s efforts to counter militant groups.