National Security

U.S. Suspends Security Assistance to Pakistan

The U.S. will suspend security assistance to Pakistan over what the Trump administration has described as Islamabad's failure to confront terrorist networks operating there, the State Department announced Thursday.

"We are suspending security assistance—security assistance only—to Pakistan at this time," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said at a press briefing. "Until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network—we consider them to be destabilizing the region and also targeting U.S. personnel—the United States will suspend that kind of security assistance to Pakistan."

Nauert added that the details of the funding cuts are still being hammered out.

The Defense Department also administers some of the assistance that Pakistan receives, and Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday that the policy on military aid is "being formulated."

Nauert's announcement came days after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley confirmed that the administration would withhold $255 million in aid from Pakistan for what she described as harboring terrorists.

When Haley announced the plan to withhold millions in assistance to Pakistan, she added that President Donald Trump is willing to "go to great lengths" to get Islamabad to cooperate.

"We expect far more cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against terrorism," she said. "The president is willing to go to great lengths to stop all funding from Pakistan as they continue to harbor and support terrorism."

On Thursday, the State Department also announced that it has added Pakistan to a special watch list for "severe violations of religious freedom."

The administration's actions toward Pakistan followed a New Year's Day tweet from Trump in which he accused Islamabad of "lies and deceit."