Pentagon Spokesman: U.S. Wants Pakistan to Take ‘Decisive Action’ Against Terrorism

WASHINGTON --

U.S. officials want to see Pakistan take “decisive action” against terrorism, following the suspension of U.S. security funding to that country, the director of press operations at the Pentagon told reporters here today.

U.S. officials stand ready to work with Pakistan for a resolution, Army Col. Rob Manning said.

“Our expectations are straightforward: Taliban and Haqqani leadership and attack planners should no longer be able to find safe haven or conduct operations from Pakistani soil,” he said.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 provided up to $900 million for Pakistan in Coalition Support Funds, or CSF, he explained. CSF is a two-year fund, so the FY17 CSF started Oct. 1, 2016, and ends Oct. 1, 2018.   

“That amount has been suspended, not cancelled or reprogrammed, as we continue to hope that Pakistan will take decisive action against the terrorist and militant groups that we seek,” he said.

Manning said to date none of that FY17 funding has been distributed to Pakistan. The last disbursement, of $550 million in FY16 CSF, was in early March 2017, the colonel said. 

“This suspension is not a permanent cutoff at this time,” he said. “Security funding and pending deliveries will be frozen, but not cancelled or reprogrammed at this time.”

Of the allocated $900 million, $400 million can only be released if the DoD certifies the Pakistan government has made significant progress against the Haqqani network, Manning said in a written statement. "The secretary has not yet made a decision on the certification required by the FY17 NDAA. We cannot speculate on a future FY18 NDAA," he said.

U.S. Stands Ready to ‘Work Together’

The United States will continue conversations in private with the Pakistani government, Manning said.

“The United States has conveyed to Pakistan specific and concrete steps that it could take toward these ends,” Manning said, adding, “We stand ready to work together with Pakistan to combat terrorist groups without distinction.”

In an impromptu news conference with Pentagon reporters Jan. 5, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said the U.S. has “had disagreements, strong disagreements on some issues, and we're working those. The specific individual things we're doing are best handled in private, to ensure that we can be most productive -- and that's what we're working now.”

“I think many of you are aware that Pakistan has lost more troops total than all of NATO [and the] coalition combined in the fight against [ISIS],” he noted.

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)