WASHINGTON, July 21 (Xinhua) -- The Pentagon said on Friday that the United States was withholding 50 million U.S. dollars in payment to Pakistan due to Islamabad's insufficient counterterrorism action.
"The funds could not be released to the government of Pakistan at this time because the Secretary (of Defense Jim Mattis) could not certify that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani Network per the requirement in the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act," said the Pentagon in a statement, referring to a branch of the Afghan Taliban.
The funds being withheld is part of a Pentagon program called Coalition Support Fund, which aims to reimburse U.S. allies and partners for their counterterrorism operations.
In the Fiscal Year 2016, 900 million dollars were marked for Pakistan, among which 550 million dollars had already been reimbursed.
However, before withholding of 50 million dollars announced on Friday, Mattis' predecessor Ash Carter decided last year to withhold another 300 million dollars of the funding.
The announcement also came days after the U.S. State Department in a report on global terrorism accused Pakistan of not taking "substantial action" against the Afghan Taliban or Haqqani.
The United States in 2012 designated the Haqqani Network as a terrorist organization.
Pakistan argued that it had done a great deal to help Americans in tracking down terrorists, saying that it had suffered hundreds of deaths in Islamist militant attacks in response to its crackdowns, Reuters reported.
"It may be noted that the funds in question are a reimbursement of the expenses incurred by Pakistan towards achieving our common objectives in the fight against terrorism, and not an assistance," Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, said in a statement.