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Pentagon Blocks $300 Million in Military Aid for Pakistan

FILE - Insurgents suspected of being from the Haqqani network are presented to the media at the National Directorate of Security headquarters in Kabul, May 30, 2013.

The Pentagon has withheld $300 million in military aid to Pakistan, according to U.S. military officials.

"The funds could not be released to the government of Pakistan at this time because the secretary has not yet certified that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani network," Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump said Thursday.

The Haqqani network, labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S., is a violent guerilla insurgent group operating on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Congress had stipulated that $300 million of the $1 billion in U.S. military aid authorized to go to Pakistan in 2015 could only be transferred once Secretary of Defense Ash Carter decided that Pakistan had made satisfactory progress against the group.

The deadline for payment was June 30, and Carter let the deadline pass without authorizing the final funds.

The Washington Post first reported the decision late Wednesday. This was the first time that certification from the secretary of defense was required for military aid funding to Pakistan.

Congress has authorized $900 million in military aid to Pakistan for fiscal 2016, which runs through September 30. Of that, $350 million is subject to the defense secretary's certification that Pakistan has taken sufficient action against the Haqqani network.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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