Pakistan conveys concern to US over aid halt

| Aizaz says Islamabad targeting all terrorists including Haqqanis

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday complained to the United States against its indifference to Islamabad and halting of aid money.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry protested that the US did not acknowledge Pakistan’s efforts against terrorism despite the country’s commitment to wipe out the menace.

In a meeting with Special Assistant to President Barrack Obama and Senior Director for South Asian Affairs Peter Lavoy, Chaudhry said Pakistan had sacrificed more than any other country but the US doubted its sincerity.

Earlier, the Pentagon decided it will not pay Pakistan $300 million in military reimbursements after US Secretary of Defence Ash Carter decided not to tell Congress that Pakistan was taking adequate action against the Haqqani network.

Relations between the two countries have been frayed over the past decade, with US officials frustrated by what they term Islamabad’s unwillingness to act against militant groups such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said indiscriminate action was taken against all extremist outfits in Pakistan including Haqqani network but the US did not acknowledge Pakistan’s efforts.

The foreign secretary discussed bilateral relations between the two sovereign states in context of high-level political standings, said an official statement.

Chaudhry stressed mutual understanding and cooperation between the two countries to solve different issues. He said Pakistan Army eliminated terror hideouts in the Federally-Administrated Tribal Areas, adding, all organised networks of terror were targeted indiscriminately including the Haqqanis.

He said Pakistan did not believe in conspiring against other countries and will not allow its soil to be used against anyone.

Lavoy said the US acknowledged sacrifices of the armed forces and the nation in war on terror and added that Pakistan’s role in peace restoration in Afghanistan was commendable.

The special US envoy said that both the countries, the United States and Pakistan, needed to continue efforts for peace and stability in the region. Elimination of terror was in the interest of both the states, Lavoy said.

Meanwhile, a delegation led by US Special Representative in Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Olson also held a meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif in Rawalpindi and discussed regional security.

ISPR said that during the meeting regional security issues and matters of mutual interest, including border management mechanism along Pakistan-Afghanistan border were discussed. The delegation appreciated Pakistan’s resolve and continuing efforts towards fighting terrorism and regional stability.

Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan General John Nicholson was also present on the occasion.

The $300 million amount was to be given to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund, a US Defence Department program to reimburse allies that have incurred costs in supporting counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations. Pakistan is the largest recipient.

According to Pentagon data, only $14 billion were paid to Pakistan under the CSF since 2002.

The decision by the Pentagon to freeze rest of the fund is a sign that while it sees some progress by Pakistan in its military operations in North Waziristan, much work remains.

Relations between the United States and Pakistan were also tested in May by a US drone strike that killed Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour on Pakistani soil. There has been growing resistance in the US Congress to sending money to Pakistan.

In March, Republican Senator Bob Corker said he would use his power as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to bar any US funding for Islamabad’s purchase of $700 million of Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighter jets.

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