United States blocks $350mn Military aid to Pakistan

Trump, team meet over Afghan security

Trump was met on the steps of Pentagon by Mattis and briefly responded to a shouted question on whether he would back sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in addition to the 8,400 now on the ground under the command of Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO Resolute Support mission.

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis told Congress that Islamabad hadn't "taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network" - a group closely related to the Afghan Taliban.

"We're not going to discuss White House meetings or direction", said Adam Stump, a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) spokesman, when Breitbart News asked whether or not it has been forced to start developing the Afghanistan war strategy from scratch and when it expects to present the plan to Trump.

Possible Trump administration responses being discussed include expanding US drone strikes and perhaps eventually downgrading Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally.

"I think Baghdadi is alive", Mr. Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. Pakistan has already received $550 million of that money.

Even before Mattis arrived on the scene, the Pentagon also withheld $300 million in military reimbursements in 2016 under the leadership of then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

Experts agree there is a need to take a tougher stance against Pakistan for allegedly providing haven to the most notorious terror groups, including but not limited to, the Haqqani network.

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"Pakistan did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or [the Haqqani Network], or substantially limit their ability to threaten USA interests in Afghanistan, although Pakistan supported efforts to bring both groups into an Afghan-led peace process", the department said in its annual report on terrorism.

According to the report, "Pakistan did not take substantial action against the Afghan Taliban or Haqqani, or substantially limit their ability to threaten United States interests in Afghanistan, although Pakistan supported efforts to bring both groups into an Afghan-led peace process".

Trump has granted the Pentagon the authority to decide how many additional troops to deploy to the war-ravaged country.

"As is evident from the statistics and media reports available, a considerable number of leaders and senior commanders of the Haqqani network and other terrorists have been killed inside Afghanistan", the spokesman said during his weekly briefing.

"The Department recognizes the significant sacrifices the Pakistan military has made in the fight against terrorism, and appreciates Pakistan's continued support for transit of materiel to coalition forces in Afghanistan", Stump said.

The war in Afghanistan received little attention on the campaign trail a year ago, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump focusing on the USA -led coalition to defeat the terrorist group known as ISIS or ISIL.

"Pakistan still has time to take action against the Haqqani Network in order to influence the Secretary's certification decision in FY17", Stump said.

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