Questions About US Aid to Pakistan Put Focus on Military's Spending

Elias Hubbard
January 5, 2018

Pakistan and USA officials are doubling down on diplomacy following tweets sent by President Donald Trump at the start of 2018.

Bilateral relations became increasingly fraught since the United States special-forces raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that led killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden in May 2011. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help.

USA security aid to Pakistan fell 62%-from $849 million in financial year 2012 to $322 million in financial year 2016. Overall, Pakistan received almost $8 billion security aid in the form of arms transfers from the United States, including F-16 fighter jets, AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters and P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, according to this CRS report on May 4, 2015.

The White House reaffirmed the president's statements, announcing that the US would withhold $255 million in military aid to Pakistan, money that was first approved by Congress in 2016 as part of a $1.1 billion package. Allegations and denunciations were made by Bush regime as well as Obama regime and Pakistan was constantly asked to do more.

Since 2002, Pakistan has received over $13 billion in Coalition Support Funds (CSF) from the US. "I think there was a line item which showed these transfers from the USA and it was similar to show the budget from "other" sources", said Dr. Salman Shah, a former finance minister of Pakistan.

Pakistan has used these funds to deploy troops along its militancy-hit northwest region that borders Afghanistan.

'There are considerable risks for the USA because Pakistan could retaliate in ways that would be very problematic for US regional interests, ' he said, such as curtailing intelligence cooperation and US supply lines into Afghanistan. "India would never like Pakistan to succeed in its efforts towards terrorism".

Having an Afghan neighbor as an ally in the global war on terrorism was key to the USA ousting the terror groups that had set up training camps in Afghanistan, and Pakistan quickly became the third-largest recipient of United States military and economic support.

The State Department's declaration on Thursday lambasted Pakistan for failing to take "decisive action" against Taliban militants targeting USA personnel in neighboring Afghanistan.

But on Tuesday, Pakistan called Trump's tweet "completely incomprehensible" and at odds with recent "trust-building" visits by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Mattis.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif tweeted that Pakistan would respond soon to "let the world know the truth. between facts & fiction".

David Hale, US ambassador in Islamabad, was summoned by Pakistan's foreign office. She said Trump is willing "to go to great lengths to stop all funding from Pakistan as they continue to harbor and support terrorism".

On January 3, 2018, Haley accused Islamabad of playing "a double game for years".

"We can review our cooperation if it is not appreciated".

"Pakistan has been reflecting the USA money in its annual budget".

The State Department's declaration signaled growing frustration over Pakistan's cooperation in fighting terrorist networks, but it was not immediately clear how much money and materiel was being withheld.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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