Kabul/New Delhi -  Afghanistan has welcomed US decision to suspend security aid to Pakistan.

The move, which American officials had hinted at for months, was greeted optimistically in Afghanistan. “We have been saying for years that neighbouring Pakistan is providing safe haven to terrorist groups, and they were also funding the terrorist groups,” Nasrat Rahim, deputy interior ministry spokesman, told reporters in Kabul on Friday. “We welcome this announcement.”

“It is a welcome first step. [We] hope it will get Rawalpindi (Pakistan’s military) thinking,” a senior Indian official told The Hindu, although the government issued no formal reaction to the development.

India had issued statements welcoming the US’s South Asia strategy announced by President Donald Trump in August, and its new National Security Strategy issued in December, both of which called on Pakistan to take action against terror safe havens that target US troops in Afghanistan, or face consequences. The Indian ministry’s decision not to issue any statement on Friday, however, was attributed to several reasons.

Firstly, the US announcement did not come as a surprise, as it came three months after the Trump administration notified the US Congress that it would not disburse the 2016 tranche of its Foreign Military Funding (FMF) of $255 million. On January 1, the US President made it clear that the action was imminent.

Secondly, while officials hailed the move, it doesn’t at present include any specific words for groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Finally, experts say there is some scepticism about whether the US action will affect the desired reaction from Pakistan, if it relates only to the military funding of about $255 million in (FMF) and possible $900 more in Coalition Support Funding (CSF), without further action.

In 1981, President Ziaul Haq had famously referred to a US offer of $250 million for Afghan refugees as “peanuts”, said former Ambassador to Afghanistan and Secretary in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Amar Sinha, adding “If the figure was peanuts nearly four decades ago, think of what it would mean today.”