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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Pentagon transferred funds meant for Afghanistan and Pakistan toward building the wall on the Mexican border

All signs are pointing toward a U.S withdrawal from Afghanistan soon but with the transfer of funds allocated for Afghan Security forces, how would the country’s army finance the war against insurgents bringing U.S commitment toward Afghan people in question.

News Analysis |

U.S Department of defense has re-allocated $1.5 billion, originally meant for Afghan forces and reimbursement to Pakistan for the cost incurred in the war against terror for building the 80 miles of a barrier wall along the U.S-Mexican border. “The funds were drawn from a variety of sources, including cost savings, programmatic changes, and revised requirements, and therefore will have minimal impact on force readiness,” Shanahan said in a statement. $600 million of the total sum has been withdrawn from the account holding money for Afghan security forces, the first line of defense against the Taliban insurgents.

An unspecified amount has also been redirected from the reimbursement funds for Pakistan which were mentioned by Defense Secretary, “The funds were culled from a variety of sources, to include unexecuted prior year funds, the suspension of reimbursements to Pakistan, and costs reductions in a series of contracts.”

Trump administration has particularly been punitive with Pakistan alleging that the country has harbored the terrorists which have caused substantial damage to U.S forces and cause in Afghanistan.

U.S Blocked CSF 3 Years Back

United States blocked $300 million of Coalition Support Fund for Pakistan when, then, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter did not give the certification to Congress that Pakistan is doing enough to support the U.S cause in Afghanistan. Islamabad has since been taking the matter up with the U.S officials but so far there has been no breakthrough in this regard.

After forming a coalition with Pakistan and terming the country “non-NATO ally” after 9/11, the United States of America agreed to a formula for reimbursement of expenses in the war against terror. But as per Pakistani sources in the finance ministry, total claims of $9 billion are still pending with the U.S administration.

Read more: Trump’s Mexico border fiasco getting out of hand

Trump administration has particularly been punitive with Pakistan alleging that the country has harbored the terrorists which have caused substantial damage to U.S forces and cause in Afghanistan. However, since Pakistan facilitated dialogue between the United States and the Taliban are underway, some appreciative comments from the U.S President Donald Trump for Pakistan have made their way to the headlines. It presents a vital opportunity for Pakistan to take up the matter of blocked Coalition Support Funds as the country is currently in dire need of monetary injection.

Afghanistan on its Own

Without the indigenous, reliable stream of revenue, which is practically nonexistent, the Afghan government cannot sustain the fighting against the Taliban. So far, the United States and its allies have been the major source of funding the ongoing war, but the prospects seem to be taking a sharp turn as depicted from the redirection of funds toward building the wall.

The United States has justified that the required resources for Afghan security forces are far less than the allocated funds; therefore taking out the money would not affect the operations against the Taliban. But on the ground, the Afghan Army lacks equipment as well as training to keep the menace away primarily because of the rampant corruption amongst the government and top military brass. It could be the reason why the United States is no longer interested to keep funding the corruption wheel of Afghan administration and directing the funds elsewhere.

Read more: Trump says ‘100%’ ready to shut down Mexico border

By virtue of the ongoing negotiations with the Taliban, the fraction U.S troops remaining inside Afghanistan would be leaving soon and the Afghan government would be left on its own to figure out how to stop the military conquest of marching Taliban if a political agreement is not reached before. But the people of Afghanistan have been and will continue to pay the price for the vested interest of multiple stakeholders.