"We would restore the aid if we see decisive movements against the terrorists, who are as much of a threat against Pakistan as they are against us".
"Good idea Rand!" Trump wrote on Twitter Friday night, retweeting a post by Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky, from earlier, saying, "I'm introducing a bill to end aid to Pakistan in the coming days".
Some regional analysts question whether the Trump administration has a plan for how to move forward, or if the decision to cut funding was a reaction to recent comments from Pakistan's foreign minister, who accused Trump on Wednesday of lying about how much aid the US gives Pakistan.
Pakistani officials have expressed anger at Trump's comments, less about the cuts themselves than about the allegations that they support terrorism.
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Interestingly, the USA official said that while public pronoucements have focussed on safe havens for thr Haqqani network and Taliban, conversations with Pakistan have also included "concerns about their nuclear program... the ability of anti-India groups like Lashkar-e Tayyiba and Jaish-e Mohammed to fundraise and operate; and Hafiz Saeed, the head of Lashkar-e Tayyiba, who was recently released from house arrest". USA civilian and military assistance for Pakistan has dropped from an average of over $2.2 billion a year during the period immediately after the 9/11 terror attacks to an estimated $526 million in 2017. The amount appropriated in a certain year usually "expires" by September 30 of the next year.
The official also said the suspension is mostly about the security assistance and does not include civilian assistance. Specifically more has to be done to counter the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. Pentagon spokesperson Commander Patrick Evans said that the entire $900 million would be frozen.
There seemed to be widespread support on Capitol Hill for the United States decision on cutting aid to Pakistan, with critical voices muted. "So we just disagree with that", said the official who was responding to a question to a statement made by Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawja Asif who had alleged that the United States is "trumpeting India's lies and deceit" and is speaking the "language of Indians".
The US, she said, will not be delivering military equipment or transferring security related funds to Pakistan unless it is required by law. He said that doubting intent of Pakistan would affect joint efforts of peace and stability in the region. The U.S. originally increased funding to Pakistan in 2002 as part of its war on terror, and the Obama administration made Pakistan a priority as it planned to capture the terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. "What matters, I think, to the Pakistanis is the - is the symbolism of doing this, that it represents a deterioration of our relationship, something that they care about a great deal", said a senior administration official.