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Trump administration reconsidering fund-cuts to Pakistan: US newspaper

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s administration has been reportedly revisiting its recent move of withholding coalition support fund to Pakistan, according to a US newspaper.

Emphasizing the election of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan as the Prime Minister in July 25 polls, the Washington Times wrote that Imran Khan’s election as the premier “presents the U.S. with a rare window to reset relations with a critical but troublesome ally, but the two sides face a slew of difficult issues and a lack of trust in any effort to improve relations.”

The US paper revealed that a battle is brewing inside the Trump administration over whether to reconsider the president’s aggressive policy of cancelling millions of dollars in sensitive security assistance to Pakistan.

In August this year, the US Congress passed a $716.3 billion defense authorization bill, significantly slashing the security aid to Pakistan to $150 million per year. The security-related aid have been around $750 million to $1 billion until now.

On Sep 13, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said the military aid suspension to Pakistan was not taken lightly by the Trump administration.

In his address to a Washington think-tank— the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, Bolton said the war against terrorism was a matter of extraordinary importance to America.

Bolton was quoted as saying by the Financial Express that the US wanted Pakistan to cooperate fully in the war against terrorism. “It was before my time, but the Trump administration did not take the decision to cancel a substantial part of the military aid package to Pakistan lightly,” he said.

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