US security assistance to Pakistan remains suspended: Pentagon

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD, May 25: US President Joe Biden has continued his predecessor Donald Trump’s policy on suspending security assistance to Pakistan and there is no clarity if the administration will change its stance in the future, the Pentagon has said.
Former US president Trump suspended all security assistance to Pakistan in January 2018, arguing that he was not satisfied with Islamabad’s cooperation and role in the fight against terrorism.
“At this time, the US security assistance to Pakistan is still suspended. I will not get into speculating one way or another about if or whether that will change going forward,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters at a news conference on Monday.
He was responding to a question on if the new Biden administration has reviewed the policy of the previous Trump administration and if there are any changes in it or if this issue was on the table during talks with the Pakistani leadership.
Earlier in the day, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to discuss shared regional interests and objectives, Kirby said.
“During the call, the secretary reiterated his appreciation for Pakistan’s support to the Afghanistan peace negotiations and expressed his desire to continue to build on the United States-Pakistan bilateral relationship,” he said.
“I reiterated my appreciation for the US-Pakistan relationship and my desire to continue to work together to further regional security and stability,” Austin said in a tweet.
A day earlier, US National Security Advisor Jek Sullivan met his Pakistani counterpart Moeed Yusuf in Geneva.
“Both sides discussed a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, and ways to advance practical cooperation. They agreed to continue with the conversation,” spokesperson of the National Security Council Emily Horne said.
In a first in-person high-level meeting, the Pakistani and US national security advisers held wide-ranging talks on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.
“Both sides had a positive conversation on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest and agreed to advance practical cooperation on these issues,” a joint statement issued by Yusuf’s office said in Islamabad.
The meeting took place as both sides have been trying to bring peace to Afghanistan. Pakistan is also trying to rebuild ties with the new US administration under President Biden who has announced the complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by September 11.
Yusuf was appointed as National Security Adviser this month and it was his first high-level meeting with any of his counterparts. (PTI)