US warns of cutting aid over human trafficking


ISLAMABAD: The Trump administration is warning Pakistan it could lose the US civilian aid worth tens of millions of dollars this year if Washington finds that Islamabad has not done enough to combat human trafficking, US officials said.

An aid cutback would deal a fresh blow to US-Pakistan ties following President Donald Trump’s suspension in January of some $2 billion in security assistance over what Mr Trump said was Islamabad’s failure to crack down on Afghan insurgent sanctuaries used for attacks into Afghanistan.

A large portion of US civilian aid — $265 million in 2017, according to a source at the US Embassy in Islamabad — could be withheld if the State Department puts Pakistan on a list of worst global offenders in human trafficking in an annual report due out in June.

The funding is relatively modest for the size of Pakistan’s economy. But Islamabad could suffer a heavier jolt if Washington also decides to oppose new assistance from international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.