Following President Donald Trump’s claim that Pakistan is providing safe haven to terrorists, the administration announced Thursday it is suspending security assistance to the Muslim country.
While State Department officials could not provide an exact figure, a report from the New York Times said the decision could affect as much as $1.3 billion in annual aid.
The announcement of the decision comes just three days after Trump criticized the aid provided to Pakistan in a post on Twitter on Monday.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” Trump tweeted. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
Pakistani officials described Trump’s tweet as “completely incomprehensible” and suggested they would subsequently revisit the nature of relations with the U.S.
The administration noted the suspension of security assistance is not permanent and does not apply to civilian assistance programs.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said the security assistance will remain suspended until Pakistan takes decisive action against groups such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network.
“Pakistan has the ability to get this money back, if you will, in the future, but they have to take decisive action. They have to take decisive steps,” Nauert said.
“Perhaps no other country has suffered more from terrorism than Pakistan and many other countries in that part of the region,” she added. “They understand that, but still they aren’t taking the steps that they need to take in order to fight terrorism.”