Pakistan to get less money from US for counter-insurgency efforts
Dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts run deep in the United States now, cutting across party lines, and policymakers have struggled to find ways to move Islamabad to do more against terrorists based on its soil and backed by it.world Updated: May 25, 2017 22:58 IST
US President Donald Trump’s first budget is earmarking $800 million in reimbursements to Pakistan for its support to US-led coalition forces combating insurgency and terrorism in the region, which is $100 million less than the amount set aside for 2016.
This is not money that Pakistan will get for sure, because payments under this head are consequent upon Islamabad’s counter-terrorism efforts, especially in rolling back the Haqqani network that is based in Pakistan and operates in Afghanistan.
Of the $900 million earmarked in 2016, under the head Coalition Support Fund (CSF) in the US military budget, Pakistan received only $550 million — that was transferred in March 2017; the rest was not paid because the administration could not certify Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts.
Dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts run deep in the United States now, cutting across party lines, and policymakers have struggled to find ways to move Islamabad to do more against terrorists based on its soil and backed by it.
Linking CSF money to its counter-terrorism measures was one of them. The administration could earlier seek a waiver of the certification to proceed with the payment, but the US Congress took away that provision in 2016, making it mandatory with no exemptions.
Pakistan stands to suffer major cuts in financial support it gets from the United States under various heads if Trump’s budgetary proposals announced this week were passed as proposed by Congress.
From the US state department, Pakistan stands to receive $190 million less than in 2016 — going down from $544 million to $334 million, of which $100 million will be earmarked for foreign military assistance, money Pakistan can use to buy military equipment from the United States. This amount is also down from $225 million ($265 million according to a different account).
The administration has said it wants to move some countries that get financial help under “foreign military assistance” from grants to loans that will come with repayment obligations with interest, barring close allies Israel, Egypt and Jordan.
The state department has opposed this shift arguing in an internal memo, according to CBS news, it will end in failure because these countries will no longer feel encouraged to buy US-made military hardware.
About the proposed budgetary allocation for Pakistan, the state department said in a note to Congress, “Pakistan plays a key role in US counter-terrorism strategy, the peace process in Afghanistan, nuclear non-proliferation efforts, and stability and economic integration in South and Central Asia.”