The Trump administration notified Congress this week that it was putting US$255 million (S$348 million) in military assistance to Pakistan into the equivalent of an escrow account that Islamabad can access only if it does more to crack down on internal terror networks launching attacks on neighbouring Afghanistan.
The United States has provided Pakistan with more than US$33 billion in aid since 2002. But the annual funding has declined in recent years as Washington became increasingly disenchanted with Islamabad’s quiet support for the Haqqani network and the Taleban, whose attacks have been responsible for the deaths of American troops in Afghanistan.
Still, US officials have long recognised that Pakistan has tried to crack down on terror groups and that it plays an important role in facilitating supply shipments to the US military in Afghanistan.
By effectively putting the funds into escrow, the Trump administration is also allowing its own ongoing review of its policy towards Pakistan to continue unaffected by aid concerns, officials said on Wednesday.