ISLAMABAD  -     Pakistan will not seek Coalition Support Fund from the United States despite Islamabad’s claim that this money is only reimbursement, officials said on Friday.

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that Islamabad was in contact with Washington but never spoke about the CSF recently.

“We have clearly told them it’s up to them to decide. The fact is we have spent this money for them and these are only reimbursements. They don’t want to pay us, we will not insist but we don’t appreciate it anyway,” said one official.

Another official said that improvement of trust level with the US was more important for Pakistan rather than money. “The trust level is the key issue. We want to improve that. We have conveyed to them that we want trade not aid. The CSF of course is not aid,” he clarified.

Earlier, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells said the US budget for the upcoming financial year does not include any security assistance for Pakistan’s military but only civilian assistance programming.

The statement released by House Foreign Affairs Committee said the budget request for India will be increased and those for Afghanistan and Pakistan will be “rationalized.”

Reports said that Pakistan had no hope to receive its pending amount from the US under the CSF receipts in next fiscal year, as the government had excluded it from the budget estimates. The government has kept the CSF amount under non-tax revenues in previous budgets.

Alice G Wells said Pakistan had taken some “important” steps against groups post Pulwama attack but they were still reversible. “On the broader issue of counter-terrorism, the Pulwama attack in February that sparked a crisis between India and Pakistan underscored the importance and immediate need to halt terrorist activity in the region,” she said in a statement.

She added: “We continue to urge Pakistan’s leaders to make good on their pledges to take sustained and irreversible actions against terrorist groups operating within the country’s borders, which is necessary for the long-term stability and prosperity of the region.”

Pakistan and the US have been holding talks on the Afghanistan issue and as US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has visited Pakistan several times, including this month.

The US is ready to help Afghan Taliban get a share in power after the elections.  Pak-US relations had taken a turn for the worse in recent years, with the US announcing a $ 300 million cut in military aid to Pakistan in 2018. US President Donald Trump attacked Pakistan on Twitter in November, saying it was not doing enough to stop terrorism.

However, recently, tension between the US and Pakistan had thawed with Trump praising Prime Minister Imran Khan’s role in facilitating the Afghan peace process.

Last month, Trump had said the US has developed a ‘much better’ relationship recently with Pakistan and had added that the US may set up some meetings with Pakistan. Washington also believes Islamabad’s role is ‘crucial’ in resolving the Afghanistan issue.

The Afghan government has been blaming Pakistan for harbouring key Taliban leaders on its soil and providing them with sanctuaries to stage war against Afghan forces and their foreign counterparts. However, Pakistan has often rejected the allegations and has claimed it was extending support to the Afghan peace process.

The US and its allies invaded Afghanistan 17 years ago and the war with the Taliban has since killed nearly 150,000 people, including Afghan civilians, security forces, insurgents and more than 2,400 American soldiers, according to an American University study released recently.

The longest war effort in US history has also cost Washington nearly one trillion dollars and all the parties central to the war are now dropping hints to end the conflict.

Several times, Pakistan sought ‘overdue’ payments from the US. Officials said the pending payment was around $ 9 billion on account of the CSF.

In the previous 17 years, the US paid $ 14 billion on account of CSF. This year, the US confirmed it will cut $ 300 million in aid to Pakistan over its perceived failure to tackle militant groups.

The so-called CSF was suspended after President Donald Trump tweeted in January 2018 that the US had received nothing but “lies and deceit” in return for $33 billion of financial support to Pakistan since 2002.

The Trump administration then alleged Islamabad offered sanctuary to Taliban fighters waging a 17-year war in Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan denied.