US considers withholding $225 million in govt. aid to Pakistan

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In response to Pakistan’s handling of terror groups within its borders, the Trump administration is considering withholding $225 million in government aid to the Middle Eastern country.

After delaying the aid package in August, administration officials met this month to decide whether or not to cancel it altogether, officials told The New York Times in a report published Friday.

Without detailing what conditions Pakistan would have to meet to receive the aid, officials said that a final decision is likely to come in the next few weeks.

Pakistan’s government has frustrated U.S. officials with its feeble attempts to deal with terrorist networks, but President Trump is dialing up the pressure. In August, he unveiled a new U.S. strategy for the war in Afghanistan aimed at defeating the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network, an affiliated group that operates in Pakistan.

At the time, Trump acknowledged that Pakistan “gives safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror” and vowed the administration would crack down on the country.

In July, Defense Secretary James Mattis stalled a $50 million aid package to Pakistan by withholding a certification that stated they had done enough to fight the Haqqani Network. The certification is required by Congress in order for Pakistan, which is classified as a major non-NATO U.S. ally, to receive the yearly military grant.

Pakistan “did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or [the Haqqani Network], or substantially limit their ability to threaten U.S. interests in Afghanistan,” an annual State Department report on terrorism said.

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