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Experts Debate If Suspension of Aid to Pakistan Will Be Effective

Experts Debate If Suspension of Aid to Pakistan Will Be Effective
Pakistani activists of are holding protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's statement against Pakistan on Jan. 4, 2018. Sipa via AP Images)

By    |   Monday, 08 January 2018 08:38 AM

After the Trump administration announced the suspension of up to $2 billion in U.S. aid to Pakistan last week over charges that the country harbors terrorists, experts are now debating whether the United States can punish Islamabad without punishing itself, according to a report in The Washington Free Beacon on Monday.

A further deterioration of relations between the U.S. and its longtime counterterrorism partner was signaled by Islamabad when it said it is no longer allied with the United States following the halting of the aid, which came on the heels of a tweet by President Donald Trump accusing Pakistan of "lies and deceit."

The dispute raises concerns for U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan, where American coalition troops depend on Pakistani air and ground routes to transfer personnel and supplies.

"The fact that we've been getting a raw deal is very plain to see," said Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior fellow Daveed Gartenstein-Ross.

"But through two administrations, the Bush administration and the Obama administrations, we haven't really had a solution to the complex game that Pakistan has been playing that's very harmful to U.S. interests."

Officials have long contended that Pakistan is playing a double game in Afghanistan due to Islamabad's ties to the Taliban's Haqqani network, which has carried out several major attacks on Afghan cities.

A senior Trump administration official told The Washington Post that the suspension of the approximately $2 billion in military aid is to meant to pressure Islamabad and includes $900 million in coalition support funds designated to reimburse Pakistan for fighting terrorists.

Center for a New American Security senior fellow Stephen Tankel warned that the crisis could lead to escalation between the two allies, although he said that would not necessarily be negative.

"I'm not opposed to the potential for escalating coercion with Pakistan, but that escalation should be well thought out in advance," Tankel told the Free Beacon.

"The United States should know what its own redlines are, it should identify off ramps, and coercion should be paired with some sort of positive engagement as well. If the only thing the United States is going to bring to the table is a hammer it may be disappointed when that tool doesn't work."

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After the Trump administration announced the suspension of up to $2 billion in U.S. aid to Pakistan last week over charges that the country harbors terrorists, experts are now debating whether the United States can punish Islamabad without punishing itself...
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2018-38-08
Monday, 08 January 2018 08:38 AM
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