The United States announced this week it will suspend all security assistance to Pakistan over concerns Islamabad refuses to clamp-down on terror networks operating within its borders; adding the government must take “decisive action” against the Taliban and al Qaeda.
The State Department made the cuts official on Thursday, releasing a statement that urged Pakistan to crackdown on the various organizations that are rapidly “destabilizing the region and also targeting U.S. personnel.”
“We are suspending security assistance—security assistance only—to Pakistan at this time,” said a spokesman for the Department of State. “Until the Pakistani government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network—we consider them to be destabilizing the region and also targeting U.S. personnel—the United States will suspend that kind of security assistance to Pakistan.”
The Trump administration signaled its intentions to slash nearly $255 million in aid to Pakistan days ago, with US ambassador Nikki Haley telling the UN that America “expects far more cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.”
“The president is willing to go to great lengths to stop all funding from Pakistan as they continue to harbor and support terrorism,” she added.
BREAKING: Freed Taliban Hostage REFUSES to Board US Plane
The husband of an American woman held captive by the Taliban for more than five years refuses to board a military plane to the United States, saying he fears he will be arrested due to a previous relationship with a “terror suspect,” reports the Daily Mail.
The American woman, her Canadian husband, and their three children were freed from Taliban captivity earlier Thursday by Pakistani security forces, following five years of captivity after the couple were abducted while hiking in Taliban-controlled territory.
The husband, Canadian-born Joshua Boyle, refuses to board a U.S. plane from Pakistan, fearing American prosecution due to his first marriage to Zaynab Khadr, an elder sibling to Omar Khadr, a terror-suspect who spent eight years in Guantanamo Bay.
Caitlin Coleman and Joshua Boyle were seized by the Taliban-linked Haqqani Network in Afghanistan while visiting the country as tourists back in 2012. Coleman was pregnant at the time of their capture, and has had two additional children while in captivity.
The Pakistani military released a statement regarding the prisoners, saying they had been “tracking” the hostages after they were moved from Afghanistan into Pakistan.
“The operation by Pakistani forces, based on actionable intelligence from US authorities was successful; all hostages were recovered safe and sound and are being repatriated to the country of their origin,” said the statement. “The success underscores the importance of timely intelligence sharing and Pakistan’s continued commitment towards fighting this menace through cooperation between two forces against a common enemy.”
President Trump: US in Afghanistan to 'Kill Terrorists'
President Trump addressed the nation on Wednesday evening over the United States mission in Afghanistan; rejecting “arbitrary timetables” and saying the US will refocus its efforts away from nation-building and towards “killing terrorists,” reports Fox News.
Speaking to American soldiers and military personnel in Fort Myer, Virginia, the President outlined his new strategy towards the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, adding the US will now have a “clear definition” of victory.
“From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing Al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America,” said the President.
“Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on […] America’s enemies will never know our plans,” he added. “We are not nation-building again… We are killing terrorists.”
The War in Afghanistan was a direct response to the terror attacks of September 11th, and is now the longest armed conflict in American history; spanning nearly 16 years and costing the lives of over 2,300 American service members.
Watch the President’s remarks above.