The Pakistan Problem: Why America Can’t Easily Cut Ties with Islamabad

    Javid Ahmad

    Security, Asia

    Residents and the media gather near the site of burning tankers, used to carry fuel for NATO forces in Afghanistan, which were attacked by unidentified gunmen on the outskirts of Quetta August 22, 2011. About a dozen gunmen in Pakistan's southwestern district of Mastung attacked and set fire to some 18 trucks carrying fuel for NATO forces in Afghanistan, government and security officials said. There were no reported casualties. REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed

    The Trump administration no longer views Pakistan an imperfect friend, but as a clever enemy.

    Last week brought a new low for the U.S.-Pakistan relationship that began with a stormy tweet message from the U.S. president, citing Pakistan’s deceitfulness in fighting terrorism. Following the tweet, the United States unveiled a string of measures that made a clear distinction about how the Trump administration no longer views Pakistan as an imperfect friend, but as a clever enemy. The new measures included a suspension of U.S. security assistance to Pakistan, comprising $ 255 million in Foreign Military Financing and as much as $ 900 million in the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). On top of that, the State Department placed Pakistan on a severe watch list for religious freedom violations, all while Sen. Rand Paul vowed to introduce a bill in the U.S. Senate to cut all aid to Pakistan. In response, Pakistan’s foreign minister furiously declared that there was no alliance between the two countries and that the United States has been a “friend who always betrays.”

    Historically, the United States has provided Pakistan three types of assistance—military, economic and the CSF funds. In general, the military aid and CSF funds, which began in 2002, constitute the bulk of U.S. assistance to Pakistan. The CSF, however, seen by Pakistan as reimbursement for operations conducted by its troops inside Pakistan, is a misnomer that effectively serve as a slush fund that Islamabad spends on farming terrorism.

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