US security assistance to Pak falls by 73% since 2011

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: A recent Congressional report has revealed that US security assistance to Pakistan has declined by nearly 73% since 2011, after the country’s ties turned sour with Pakistan. The capping on US’ security assistance was initiated in a phased manner after the killing of al-Qaida chief Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The report prepared for the US Congress by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) covers both military and economic assistance given between 2002 and 2015 as well as those earmarked for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

According to a newspaper reporting from Washington, the report showed a 53 per cent decrease in economic assistance since 2011.

The bilateral relationship also deteriorated after US airstrike on a Pakistani border post in Salala that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon decided not to pay $300 million in military reimbursements to Islamabad over its alleged reluctance to act against the Haqqani network, a charge Islamabad had immediately rejected.

Security aid fell 73 per cent from nearly $1.3 billion in 2011 to $343 million in 2015. Economic aid declined from nearly $1.2 billion in 2011 to $561 million in 2015, the report added.

The cancelled $300 million payments were in the form of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) under which Pakistan has received over $14 billion since 2002.

The CSF accounted for “as much as one-fifth of Pakistan’s total military expenditures” from 2002 to 2014, said the CRS, a US government news and analysis service for Congress.

The CSF is meant to reimburse US-allied nations “for their operational and logistical support of US-led counterterrorism operations”.

The Pentagon has reported that nearly half the CSF assistance to Pakistan is used for food and ammunition.

The CRS data shows that CSF accounts for 43 per cent of $32.2 billion worth of US government financial transfers to Pakistan from 2002 to 2015. Economic aid comprises 33 per cent of transfers at $10.6 billion followed by 24 per cent in security aid at $7.6 billion.

The CRS report, however, shows that Pakistan has or still is in the process of receiving nearly $1.2 billion worth of weapon systems from the US since 2001. This includes: Eight P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft worth $474 million and 20 AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters at $48 million.

Pakistan is also getting mid-life update kits for 60 F-16A/B fighter jets already in its inventory at a cost of $892 million, of which the US paid $477 million through FMF.

Since 2001, Pakistan has paid or is still paying $2.5 billion for US arms. This includes big-ticket items such as $1.43 billion for 18 new F-16C/D Block 52 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft and additional armaments for the aircraft at a cost of $629 million.