Announced in December, the decision was reaffirmed by State Department official following call between Mike Pompeo, Gen. Bajwa
The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs on Saturday reaffirmed that Washington was resuming International Military Education and Training (IMET) for Pakistan to boost military-to-military cooperation.
In a brief message posted to Twitter, senior U.S. diplomat Alice Wells announced that President Donald Trump had authorized the move. “To strengthen [military-to-military] cooperation on shared priorities and advance U.S. national security, @POTUS authorized the resumption of International Military Education and Training #IMET for Pakistan,” it said. “The overall security assistance suspension for Pakistan remains in effect,” it added.
The U.S. initially announced intent to allow Pakistan to rejoin the military training program on Dec. 23 following a two-year suspension—part of a wide-ranging freeze on U.S. military assistance by Trump over allegations that Islamabad was not doing enough to stop terrorism. Despite the resumption of IMET, some $2 billion in U.S. military aid to Pakistan remains suspended.
Announcing the resumption of IMET, a State Department spokeswoman had said last year that the freeze “authorized narrow exceptions for programs that support vital U.S. national security interests.” Washington “has approved the resumption of the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program for Pakistan as one such exception, subject to congressional approval,” she added.
Wells’ reiteration of the move follows U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa to apprise him of the circumstances that led to Trump ordering the assassination of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. Pompeo claimed the U.S. had taken the decision to target Soleimani to protect American interests and personnel.
Under the IMET, foreign military officers receive training at U.S. military education institutions, such as the U.S. Army War College and the U.S. Naval War College.