The US has given Islamabad $11 billion over the past 11 years to reimburse Pakistan for its on-again, off-again efforts to combat militants along the Afghan border. With violence on the rise in both countries, the US Congress has tightened measures requiring the Pentagon to certify that Pakistan is a true ally before it gives the country $300 million in fresh payments this fiscal year. This new certification requirement in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act is the latest attempt by Congress to ensure that Pakistan abides by its promises to stop harbouring terrorist groups implicated in cross-border attacks on US and coalition troops in Afghanistan. They are ill at ease in trusting Pakistan’s claims that it’s battling all terrorist groups and the unease may be valid with Malik Ishaq, the head of the banned outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi out on judicial remand and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who’s accused of having masterminded the 2008 attacks in Mumbai on court bail. Ishaq is also on the US terrorist list.

The generals in Islamabad are blamed by US analysts of having, for a decade, tried to play both sides. Pakistan faces international isolation if the distrust sours further. In the past, many of our questionable policies and relationships, most notably nuclear proliferation activities and relations with the Taliban, were overlooked because of our cooperation in the war on terror. This no longer holds. In addition to Pakistan’s links to the Haqqani Network, other realities are now fair game for public criticism, such as the open residence of senior Taliban leadership and their families in Pakistan, the prevalence of Islamist thinking among the military, state support for anti-Indian terrorists, the treatment of women and minorities, and the frequency of journalist deaths and moderate politicians.

Once US troops depart Afghanistan, will the US be giving us this money in 2016? It seems unlikely. The Pentagon has said that they do not have the authority to provide operational reimbursements to Pakistan after 2016. And that the Defense Department is currently evaluating whether to seek such authorities to protect remaining US forces in Afghanistan, and maintain pressure on militant organizations. The aid is not meant for Pakistan, it is meant for Pakistan to help US initiatives in Afghanistan succeed. Any money that they give us now is not to help, but rather a carrot in front of a donkey. The big question is if the US is even interested in maintaining a security relationship with Pakistan on some grounds other than the conflict in Afghanistan. Additional security assistance will be hard to come by as time passes and along with it, a friendly Pak-US relationship will also die.