Expect specific action on Pak. this week, says US


Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang in a statement said, "Pakistan has made great endeavours and sacrifice to fight against terrorism, and made remarkable contribution in the counter-terrorism campaign. In terms of specific actions, I think you'll see some more details come out on that in the next 24 to 48 hours", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said during the daily briefing.

Pakistan "receives funds from the United States to fight against terrorists, but it has not destroyed terrorist safe havens from where terrorists continuously carry out attacks in Afghanistan", he told RFE/RL on January 1.

A day later, the White House said that it has suspended $255 million financial security assistance to Pakistan as mandated by Congress in its 2016 budget.

Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, confirmed that the US made a decision to deprive Islamabad of American taxpayer-funded assistance, accusing Pakistan of playing a "double game" with America.

The statement further said that it was mostly because of this endeavor, Pakistan was suffering a brutal backlash, including the killing of hundreds of its schoolchildren by terrorists based in Afghanistan, adding that Pakistan can not be held responsible for the collective failure in Afghanistan.

On New Year's Day, President Trump reiterated his assertion that Pakistan continues to provide sanctuary to terrorists who are killing and injuring American troops and their allies in Afghanistan.

That question was also raised at the State Department briefing on Monday when a reporter pointed out that the U.S. praised Pakistani cooperation in recovery of Canadian-American couple a few months ago and now it is criticising the country. "The U.S. still needs these facilities and Pakistan can stop it".

However, he said, in case the U.S. took action against Pakistan, it would be responded to in accordance with the aspirations of the Pakistani people.

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As US-Pakistan relations face a stiff test following President Donald Trump's Twitter tirade against Islamabad, foreign policy experts have warned Washington against implications of losing Pakistan as an ally.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told the Pakistani television network Geo on Monday that "Trump is disappointed at the US defeat in Afghanistan and that is the only reason he is flinging accusations at Pakistan". But at the time, he provided no details as to how the US would pressure Islamabad.

Haley's statement followed an angry tweet from Trump on Monday that the U.S. had been rewarded with "nothing but lies and deceit" for giving Pakistan billions in aid.

Spokesperson Heather Nauert said Pakistan can certainly "do more" and stands to gain from additional cooperation with the United States.

The former diplomat who hosted Trump as the candidate for his first major foreign policy speech called for suspension of economic assistance to Pakistan, holding Pakistan accountable before regional and global organizations in association with India and Afghanistan.

A larger security-related payment was $14.5 billion paid to Pakistan from Coalition Support Funds (CSF), which the CRS paper argued, was not assistance but reimbursement for logistical and operational support of US-led military operations; "it is technically not foreign assistance". "If the USA escalates in kinetic terms with drone strikes outside the established zones, Pakistan can escalate in kind and attempt to shoot down some drones", said Mr. Lalwani.

But then, US Vice President Mike Pence - in his unannounced, December 22 visit to Afghanistan - had issued an apparent warning to Pakistan, saying it "has much to gain from partnering with our efforts in Afghanistan". A few days ago, CENTCOM commander General Voetel said that the USA was attempting quiet discussions rather than public messaging to Pakistan. Pakistan has plenty of tools to respond to further USA coercive measures including closing the G-LOCS and A-LOCS [ground and air lines of communications], ratcheting up the temperature on the Afghan border, and reducing intelligence cooperation.