The Trump administration had delayed $255 million in State Department aid until Pakistan did more to crack down on terrorism. Relations between the United States and Pakistan have deteriorated since the summer, when President Trump accused the country of giving “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror.”
American officials had also demanded access to a militant who was captured by Pakistani forces during the rescue of a Canadian-American family in October. The militant was a member of the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, but Pakistan rejected the Americans’ request.
However, Ms. Nauert added, “There may be some exceptions that are made on a case-by-case basis if determined to be critical to national security interests.” Internal government talking points that were obtained by The New York Times described the suspension as “a freeze, and does not reflect intent to reprogram funds at this time.”
The United States has provided Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid since 2002.
Additionally, the State Department announced earlier on Thursday that it had placed Pakistan on a special watch list for what it described as the country’s severe violations of religious freedoms. The announcement was part of the administration’s annual accounting of violations by countries as required by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
As Pakistan has become more religiously intolerant in recent years, in part driven by a growing proliferation of religious schools funded by Saudi Arabia, attacks on religious minorities have increased.
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