The United States has started cutting Pakistani officers from training and educational programs which were a key aspect of US-Pakistan bilateral relations that have lasted for more than a decade, US officials told Reuters.
The move is one of the first major impacts of Donald Trump’s announcement that the US would cut security aid to Pakistan to compel the country to crack down on Islamic terrorists living on Pakistani soil.
Reuters cited anonymous US officials as stating that they were worried the decision could undermine US-Pakistan relations further, compelling the country to turn to Russia or, more likely, China for assistance.
China has already extended several loans to Pakistan for the $60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
A US State Department official told Reuters that the US government’s move to cut Pakistan from the United States’ International Military Education and Training Programme (IMET) would close off 66 spots that had been allocated for Pakistani officers in 2018.
The official added that the spots would either be left vacant, or be allocated to officers from other nations.
In fact, US President Donald Trump’s first tweet of 2018, targeting Pakistan, had caused ripples in international diplomatic circles, especially on the Twitter timelines of Pakistan government officials.
In his tweet, the US called Pakistan a ‘safe haven’ for terrorists and said that the “United States had foolishly given more than 33 billion dollars in aid to over the last 15 years.”
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Additionally, Pakistan was placed on the Global Financial Action Task Force’s ‘grey list’ for failing to curb terror financing, on 28 June this year.
The move came after Donald Trump announced he’d be cutting US aid to Pakistan in the form of military expenditure in January, after accusing it of funding terror groups that attack Afghanistan.
The FATF was established in 1989 to fight money laundering, terror financing, and other related threats that could affect the integrity of the international financial system.
If Pakistan is placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s blacklist, the sanctions against it would be more serious, further impacting its ability to borrow as well.
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(With inputs from Reuters)