The ‘will they, wont they’, saga of the $300 million in military reimbursements that the US promised Pakistan, has finally come to an end. The Pentagon has decided that it will not pay Pakistan the money remaining under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), after US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter failed to reassure Congress that Pakistan was taking adequate action against the Haqqani network. The battle was perhaps lost when the United States House of Representatives voted 277 to 147 in favour of a defence policy bill seeking to increase restrictions on military aid for Pakistan unless certain conditions were met in May earlier this year. With little to no support for Pakistan in the Congress, the US-Pak relationship had frayed long ago and the recent decision is testament to that.

While the US has continued on a tangent of expressing constant disapproval for Pakistan’s efforts to fight its war on terror, Pakistan has accused the United States back of thwarting Islamabad’s efforts to facilitate a negotiated end to the conflict in Afghanistan, after the drone attack that killed Taliban leader Mullah Mansour in Balochistan. Senator McCain’s rare congressional delegation visit to Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they travelled to the restive North Waziristan region to witness progress first hand, had been encouraging. What was even more encouraging was his article published in FT on July 26, 2016 titled, “America ignores Pakistan at its peril”. As the name would suggest, it highlighted the important role that Pakistan is playing in fighting a ‘common enemy’.

Does this decision to withdraw financial support come as a complete surprise? Despite reaffirmations of a stellar performance of foreign policy by our advisors and diplomats, not really. We are on a weak footing with our foreign policy, and have been losing these concessions from the US for some time now.

It is not as if this $300 million is detrimental to Pakistan’s military efforts to flush its soil of all sorts of terrorists. It is the denial of those very sincere efforts and the sacrifices concurred in the process that perhaps sting more painfully. This decision will have Pakistan questioning the same thing that the Congress was deliberating a while back; is US a friend or foe? In the meantime, it means our efforts to lobby the US congress, and establish meaningful diplomacy have been inefficient and need to be revised. The US has a hard time shaking off old habits of duplicity while Pakistan continues to act out of naivety.