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US Congress authorises $700mn for Pakistan 

Washington, Nov 11 (IANS) The US Congress has authorised up to $700 million in Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to reimburse Pakistan for activities carried out in support of American operations in Afghanistan.

The authorisation was included in the reconciled text of the House and Senate versions of the 2018 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA-2018), which was released earlier this week, Dawn online reported.

The reconciled version will make $350 million of $700 million available to Pakistan upon certification from US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis that Pakistan took demonstrable steps against the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba in Pakistan.

The NDAA urged the US Defence Department to monitor Washington’s security assistance to Pakistan and ensure that the country did not use it to support militant groups.

Mattis will also have to certify that Pakistan took steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani network and LeT from using Pakistani territory as a safe haven and for fundraising or recruiting efforts.

The reconciled version also expressed concern about the alleged persecution of various political or religious groups in Pakistan, including Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis, Baloch, Sindhi and Hazara.

The bill urged Mattis to ensure that Pakistan will not use any assistance provided by the US to persecute minority groups.

The certification would also have to include a declaration that Pakistan is working with Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants along the border and that Islamabad had shown progress in arresting and prosecuting senior leaders and mid-level operatives of the Haqqani network and LeT.

NATO, meanwhile, said without the support of neighbouring countries, bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan would be impossible, Tolo News reported. 

“There cannot be peace in Afghanistan unless we engage Afghanistan’s neighbours and we have to convince them to take on a constructive role on Afghanistan. Its in their own interests as we would then move on from a lose-lose situation as we are currently facing to a win-win situation,” NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan Ambassador Cornelius Zimmermann said.

Afghan acting Defence Minister Tariq Shah Bahrami said Pakistan will be subjected to more political pressure from foreign to take action against insurgents.

The Special Charg√© d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Kabul Ambassador Hugo Llorens said the US will stay in support of thousands of Afghan people who are fighting the insurgent groups to defend their country. 

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