Home South Asia Afghanistan Aid cuts by US to hurt Pak-Afghan border monitoring

Aid cuts by US to hurt Pak-Afghan border monitoring

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News Analysis |

A considerable reduction in military and economic aid to Pakistan by the US is likely to hurt Washington’s desire of preventing cross-border attacks into Afghanistan. This fear was spelled out in a comprehensive report produced by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

The report that was released on Tuesday shows that US economic and military assistance for Pakistan fell from more than $2.2 billion a year immediately after 9/11 to less than $350 million a year, sought for 2018.

Experts are not pinning much hope on the upcoming visit of Secretary Defense James Mattis to Pakistan. However, the silver lining is that both countries can make good use of Mattis’ lenient approach towards Pakistan.

Earlier this month, while authorizing the disbursement of $700 million in the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to Pakistan for the support it extends to US military operations in Afghanistan, the Secretary of Defense released $350 million on certification which included the assurances that Pakistan is taking actions against the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET).

However, the revised version has confined the scope of certification to just the Haqqani Network, an organization Pakistan is accused of hosting, financing, and abetting.

Read more: Pak-Afghan border closures: It’s business that suffers the most!

The plummeting of CSF comes at a time when Pak-US ties are frayed owing to misgivings over the new South Asia policy. Pakistan has repeatedly rejected allegations of harboring terrorists and instead has reiterated its efforts of ridding the region of the scourge of terrorism.

CSF is often erroneously considered as US aid to Pakistan. Since the past three years, the US while attaching strings and pulls on the disbursement of CSF, reduced its amount. In 2015, the US Congress authorized up to $1 billion in additional CSF to Pakistan, $300 million of which was subject to Haqqani network-related certification requirements. In 2016, Congress authorized another $900 million, with $350 million ineligible for waiver. In 2017, Congress authorized a further $900 million, with $400 million ineligible for waiver.

Experts are not pinning much hope on the upcoming visit of Secretary Defense James Mattis to Pakistan. However, the silver lining is that both countries can make good use of Mattis’ lenient approach towards Pakistan.

Despite tensions, Pakistan and the US have expressed the willingness to cooperate and develop a good tactical relationship. However, with the dynamics of the region changing, the US strategy towards Pakistan is a part of the Great Game in the region between China and the US. Watchers are certain that ties will not be cordial but there is room for developing a healthy tactical relationship.

Read more: Pak-Afghan ties: Any way to end the blame game?

CSF comes under the influence of the transactional nature of ties. If it is impeded then it is reasonable to assert that Islamabad would be having no incentive to cooperate, even on matters where both countries agree.

Experts are not pinning much hope on the upcoming visit of Secretary Defense James Mattis to Pakistan. However, the silver lining is that both countries can make good use of Mattis’ lenient approach towards Pakistan.


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