Trump Threatens Pak With Fund Cuts, But Security Aid Down 62% Over 5 Years
There has been a 62% decline in security aid from the the United States of America (USA) to Pakistan over the last five years, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of data released by the US Congressional Research Service (CRS).
The data--indicative of worsening US-Pakistan ties--come as US President Donald Trump slammed Pakistan’s "lies and deceit" for providing "safe havens" to terrorists in exchange of $33 billion worth of US aid to Islamabad. Trump tweeted that there will be "no more” US aid to Pakistan.
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 1, 2018
In the post-9/11 period, Pakistan emerged as one of the biggest recipients of US aid because of its role as a regional ally in the American-led military intervention in Afghanistan.
Pakistan received over $32 billion in the form of US security aid, economic aid and Coalition Support Funds (CSF) over 15 years.
Source: Congressional Research Service (Figures in $ million)
Bilateral relations became increasingly fraught since the US special-forces raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that led killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden in May 2011. This led the US to become critical of Pakistan’s role in fighting terror, particularly on the matter of safe havens to terrorists.
US security aid to Pakistan fell 62%--from $849 million in financial year 2012 to $322 million in financial year 2016. Overall, Pakistan received nearly $8 billion security aid in the form of arms transfers from the US, 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.
Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations, has confirmed that the Trump administration is withholding $255 million in security aid for Pakistan.
Economic and humanitarian aid to Pakistan declined 77% from $1.1 billion in financial year 2012 to $246 million in financial year 2016.
Since 2002, Pakistan has received over $13 billion in Coalition Support Funds (CSF) from the US. These are meant to reimburse Pakistan for its "operational and logistical support of U.S.-led counterterrorism operations" in the region, the CRS notes.
Pakistan has used these funds to deploy troops along its militancy-hit northwest region that borders Afghanistan. The CSF funds also compensate Pakistan for allowing the US-led coalition forces access its airfields and ports to provide supplies and logistics in their deployment in Afghanistan.
The CRS reimbursement has declined 20% from $688 million in financial year 2012 to $550 million in financial year 2016.
India stands vindicated, US-Pakistan row erupts
India, who for decades has accused Pakistan of being a state-sponsor of terrorism, welcomed Trump’s tweet.
"The Trump administration decision has abundantly vindicated India's stand as far as terror is concerned and as far as the role of Pakistan is concerned in perpetrating terrorism," according to minister of state in Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh, NDTV reported on January 2, 2018.
It must be noted that Trump’s tweet is in the context of Pakistan-based terrorist groups like the Haqqani network and Taliban that threaten US forces and the civilian government in Afghanistan. It makes no mention of India.
The US had, however, joined India in condemning the release of Pakistan-based Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed from house arrest in November.
Meanwhile, a major diplomatic row has erupted between between the US and Pakistan over Trump’s latest tweet.
On January 2, 2018, Pakistan’s foreign minister Khawaja Asif responded to Trump’s latest tweet saying the US President is blaming Islamabad over the US’ defeat in the war in Afghanistan.
David Hale, US ambassador in Islamabad, was summoned by Pakistan’s foreign office.
On January 3, 2018, Haley accused Islamabad of playing "a double game for years". She said Trump is willing "to go to great lengths to stop all funding from Pakistan as they continue to harbor and support terrorism".
"We can review our cooperation if it is not appreciated. Pakistan's cooperation is not based on any consideration of aid but on our national interests and principles," Maleeha Lodh, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations, said in response to Haley’s comments.
The statements indicate a major US-Pakistan split, one that could favour India.
(Sethi is a Mumbai-based freelance writer and defence analyst.)
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