US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has said that Washington will cut aid to Islamabad in the form of grants, financial assistance and compensation, accusing Pakistan of treating American diplomats “badly”.
Pompeo, who was deposing at a hearing of the House of Representatives foreign affairs committee on Wednesday, was answering Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who asked why the US should continue to expend financial aid to Pakistan, which had imprisoned Shakil Afridi, a doctor who American forces track down al-Qaeda chief Osama bin laden in 2011.
Pointing out that the US had released far fewer funds to Pakistan in 2018 than in prior years, Pompeo said that the “remainder of the funds available are under review… my guess is that the number will be smaller still”.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration had announced a drastic cut of $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan, citing its continued lack of decisive action against terrorists operating from it soil.
Pompeo said: “As part of the new South Asia strategy, we have been clear with Pakistan that ensuring reconciliation, peace, and security in Afghanistan in large part depends on Pakistan’s willingness to crack down on terrorist safe havens and instigators of terrorist activity in its own country.”
He also vented US irritation over the treatment of American diplomats in Pakistan, probably in reference to measures taken by Islamabad in the aftermath of a fatal road accident caused by a US official posted there. Both countries have since restricted the movement of each other’s diplomats on their soil.
Pompeo said, “my officers — state department officials are being treated badly as well — those working in the embassies and consulates are not being treated well by the Pakistani government either.”
The top US diplomat also said the US will not tolerate Russian interference in the 2018 mid-term elections and will continue to undertake “countermeasures in response to an effort to do so”.
Pompeo’s Russia remarks come in the midst of an aggressive pushback from President Donald Trump, his lawyers, and his allies against the ongoing probe by special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump recently forced the FBI to order an inquiry into its conduct of the probe and how it started.