WASHINGTON — The United States military has decided to cancel the financial aid worth 300 million USD to Pakistan due to the growing concerns regarding the latter’s failure to tackle the militants, according to an exclusive report by Reuters.
Authored by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali, the Reuters report further revealed that United States President Donald Trump’s administration has accused Pakistan of providing a safe haven to the insurgents, who are responsible for “a 17-year-old war in neighbouring Afghanistan”. However, Pakistan has denied any such charges.
The Reuters quoted a US official as saying that United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis would have authorised the 300 million USD in Coalition Support Funds (CSF) only if Pakistan took actions against the militants and rising insurgency, but he chose not to.
CSF was part of a broader suspension in aid to Pakistan, announced by President Trump earlier this year.
The report by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali quoted Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Kone Faulkner as saying, “Due to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy the remaining 300 (million) USD was reprogrammed” and will now be used on “other urgent priorities” if United States Congress approves.
These facts, however, have come to light ahead of the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Pakistan on September 5, where, according to Mattis, combating militants will be a “primary part of the discussion” between the two countries.
Last month, the Congress had slashed the security-oriented financial aid to Pakistan that came after the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2019 increased the military expenditure and opted to not bring any changes in policy.
Russian rocket fails in the mid air, crew lands safely
COSMODROME—Booster rocket carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and US astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed in mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without any harm.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, quoted by Interfax, said the problem occurred when the first and second stages of the booster rocket were in the process of separating.
The rocket was launched from the Soviet-era cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. A Reuters reporter who observed the launch from around 1 km away said that it had gone smoothly in its initial stage.
“Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location for the Soyuz spacecraft returning to Earth carrying two crew members,” NASA said in a statement.