President Donald Trump pauses during a with state leaders about prison reform, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has quietly started cutting scores of Pakistani officers from coveted training and educational programs that have been a hallmark of bilateral military relations for more than a decade, U.S. officials say.The effective suspension of Pakistan from the U.S. government's International Military Education and Training program (IMET) will close off places that had been set aside for 66 Pakistani officers this year, a State Department spokesperson told Reuters.It is unclear precisely what level of military cooperation still continues outside the IMET program, beyond the top level contacts between U.S. and Pakistani military leaders.Officially allies in fighting terrorism, Pakistan and the United States have a complicated relationship, bound by Washington's dependence on Pakistan to supply its troops in Afghanistan but plagued by accusations Islamabad is playing a double game.Current and former U.S. officials said Defense Secretary Jim Mattis argued against excluding Pakistani officers from IMET courses.In the 1990's former U.S. President George H.W. Bush refused to certify that Pakistan did not have nuclear weapons, triggering the so-called "Pressler Amendment" that required cutting off all military assistance.Mattis, in private discussions within the government, had warned that excluding Pakistani officers from IMET courses could contribute to a similar situation in years to come, the former U.S. defense official said.
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