US suspends security assistance to Pakistan over claims country is 'harbouring terrorists'

The US State Department claims the "Taliban and the Haqqani Network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan"

US suspends security assistance to Pakistan over claims country is 'harbouring terrorists'

Pakistani protesters burn banners showing U.S. President Donald Trump in Hyderabad, Pakistan. Picture by: Pervez Masih/AP/Press Association Images

The US has announced that it plans to suspend almost all security assistance to Pakistan, claiming that the country is harbouring terrorists.

It means that military equipment and security funds will not be provided to Pakistan 'unless it is required by law', or in some potential exemptions based on US national security interests.

The exact amount of aid involved was not immediately clear, with the New York Times reporting as much as $1.3 billion in funds could be frozen.

However, US officials insisted that Pakistan could get the money back if they take 'decisive action'.

Explaining the decision, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said: "[President Trump] made it clear that no partnership can survive a country's harbouring of militants and terrorists who target US servicemen and officials.

"Despite a sustained high-level engagement by this administration with the government of Pakistan, the Taliban and the Haqqani Network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan as they plot to destabilise Afghanistan, and also attack US and allied personnel."

She added: "We hope to be able to renew and deepen our bilateral security relationship when Pakistan demonstrates its willingness to aggressively confront the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network and other terrorist and militant groups that operate from within its country."

The decision comes only days after President Trump took to Twitter to criticise Pakistan: