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US turns down Pak's aid request

world Updated: May 09, 2008 11:40 IST
US turns down Pak's request for military aid

The United States has turned down or deferred Pakistan's request for over $81 million in military aid following reports that Islamabad used much of the amount to pay for heavy equipment suited for a regional conflict with India, according to a media report.

The Pentagon turned down or delayed more than $81 million requested by Pakistan in February following criticism that Islamabad has squandered the US funding and allowed al-Qaeda to rebuild a haven in its tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"In private, the US officials have acknowledged that they had little oversight of Pakistan's spending," the paper said.

The US officials have said that Pakistan used much of the military aid to pay for heavy equipment suited for a regional conflict with India than for counter-insurgency operations in the frontier territories.

Pakistan has received close to a billion dollars a year since 2001 through a programme called Coalition Support Funds. The programme was set up for anti-terrorism operations along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

The newspaper quoting the report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said although the rejection represented a small portion of the nearly USD 6 billion Islamabad has received for anti-terrorism program since 2001, it marked a change in policy towards Pakistan, which has been getting American military aid without needing to show results.

Johnson, the author of the GAO report, said the agency was still examining where the military aid went and planned a more detailed account next month.