NEW DELHI (Sputnik) – Pakistan has suspended military and intelligence cooperation with the United States amid the diplomatic tensions between Islamabad and Washington, Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said.
Speaking at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad on Tuesday, Khan said that the United States was using Pakistan as a “scapegoat” for its failures in Afghanistan despite spending billions of dollars in the conflict-torn state. Khan’s speech was broadcast by the local 92 News channel.
“We have suspended the full-scale cooperation of our defense ministries and intelligence departments. Pakistan does not want to put a price on its sacrifices but wants them to be recognized,” the minister said, adding that Pakistan will not allow the continuation of Afghanistan’s war on its own territory.
Pakistan’s move comes in the wake of a partial freeze of US financial aid to Islamabad and Washington’s accusations of providing “safe haven to the terrorists” despite multi-billion dollar assistance, voiced by US President Donald Trump on January 1.
According to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert’s statement on January 4, the United States was also suspending the delivery of military equipment to Pakistan, along with security aid. As the spokesperson explained, such a measure was a response to the local authorities’ insufficient measures in the fight against terrorist groups.
Responding to this move, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry requested further explanations from the US, noting that Islamabad was fighting against terrorism mostly with the use of its own funds.
On January 8, Pentagon spokesperson Col. Robert Manning told reporters that some $900 million in US funds meant to reimburse Pakistan for counterterrorism operations would not be released until Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis was persuaded that the country was fighting terrorist groups and not harboring them.