United States also freezes $2b in military assistance to Pakistan

The writer is a development anthropologist. He teaches at George Washington University

Those funds are typically paid later in the year, and already require USA certification, so the effect of Thursday's announcement was unclear.

Days later, U.S. has put Pakistan on watch list for religious freedom violations and announced to suspend security assistance to Pakistan targeting Coalition Support Funds (CSF).

And now, the U.S. has said that it has suspended all security assistance to Pakistan until Islamabad takes "decisive action" against terror groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network, which according to Washington is destabilising the region.

"We consider them (terror groups) to be destabilising the region and also targeting U.S. personnel". "This step that we have taken, suspending security aid to Pakistan, shows that we are dissatisfied with the actions and the continued linkages we see between the Pakistani security services and the Haqqani network".

In a carefully-worded statement, Pakistan Foreign Office said, "We are engaged with the US".

Talking to the Voice of America (VOA), General Ghafoor said: "Suspension of security assistance will not affect Pakistan's resolve to fight terrorism; however, it for sure will have an impact on Pakistan-US security cooperation and efforts towards regional peace".

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He said Pakistan could fall back on Saudi Arabia and China for military supplies, but it still depends on the USA for certain types of high-end equipment.

In a carefully-worded statement, Pakistan Foreign Office said, "We are engaged with the United States administration on the issue of security cooperation and await further details". The impact of the U.S. decision on pursuit of common objectives is also likely to emerge more clearly in due course of time, Pakistan's Foreign Office said in a statement in Islamabad. "I don't want to get into specific because the implementation is still being worked out but there certainly will be exceptions made when the items are deemed to be in the United States national security interests", the official said. Pressure from the USA also resulted in a buildup of Pakistani military presence along the border with Afghanistan.

The decision was announced by State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, who said Pakistan needs to take "decisive action" when it comes to terror activities and how it plans to crack down on it.

The US President wrote that US foolishly gave over 33 billion dollars in aid to Pakistan over the past 15 years.

USA assistance to Pakistan, which rose sharply after the 9/11 attacks, has been declining since 2011 when American commandos killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, straining relations.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters the U.S. was willing to lift the suspension if Pakistan took decisive actions against these terrorist groups. "They may say it's a surprise, but what is no surprise is that the President has expressed his concerns, Secretary Tillerson has expressed his concerns, as has Secretary Mattis, and I imagine many other government officials having those conversations with Pakistan", Nauert said. "But at this time that's what is suspended", the official said. He slammed Pakistan for only providing lies and deceit in reaction. "They have to take decisive steps", said Nauert.

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