Trump Seeking New Ideas On Afghanistan From Service Members

With the Pentagon poised to announce details of a troop increase for the USA mission in Afghanistan, the pending decision raises questions about the effect additional boots on the ground will have on the 16-year conflict.

In what could be the blow for Pakistan is U.S. has made a decision to block $350mn payable to Pakistan towards coalition support after it has been convinced that Pakistan has not taken enough steps to eliminate Haqqani Terror Network.

"The funds could not be released to the Government of Pakistan at this time because the secretary could not certify that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network", Adam Stump, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

When pressed on any changes in the South Asia Strategy - formerly known as the Afghanistan strategy - White said that no decisions are expected this week.

President Trump demanded that his team go back to square one if necessary and create a realistic plan that ensures Afghanistan is ultimately able to stand on its own as a country, said the administration official, noting that the meeting served as a sort of wake up call for those involved in developing the strategy.

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There was about $50 million remaining in the funds, which will now be repurposed the Pentagon said.

There is a similar certification requirement for Pakistan to receive $400 million meant for it in fiscal 2017. Afghan officials have blamed the group for the May truck bombing in Kabul that killed almost 100 people.

In its annual "Country Report on Terrorism", as mandated by the Congress, the State Department said that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) continue to operate, train, organise and fundraise inside Islamabad and Pakistani military and security forces undertook operations against groups that conducted attacks within Pakistan such as Tehrik-eTaliban Pakistan.

The decision was not the first time that the Pentagon has declined to make military reimbursements to Pakistan.

Last year, Mattis's predecessor, Ash Carter, chose to withhold $300 million of that funding.

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Directly dealing with Pakistan's support for terrorists fighting the US and its allies in Afghanistan would mark a significant departure from what America has done in the past.

Relations between the two countries have been frayed over the past decade, with United States officials frustrated by what they term Islamabad's unwillingness to act against terror groups such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

This is for the second consecutive year that the US Defence Secretary has refused to certify to Congress, as mandated under National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), that Pakistan has taken satisfactory action against the Haqqani network.

The revised plan takes a regional approach to Afghanistan's security, Mattis has said previously, and an important part of the plan includes securing Pakistan's role in supporting a stable Afghanistan and addressing India and Iran's influences in the country.

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