Home Global Village Trump signs a bill allocating $700 million under the coalition support fund

Trump signs a bill allocating $700 million under the coalition support fund


News Analysis |

American President Donald Trump has signed a mammoth $700 billion defense bill to modernize and bolster US military might including the allocation of up to $700 million to reimburse Pakistan under the coalition support fund.

The US Congress has backed Trump on call for stronger and bigger military to take on the challenges facing the homeland security. The Senate passed the bill under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the Fiscal year 2018, which authorizes the magnitude of defense spending. The US has put aside more money for missile interceptors and new missile fields amid threats from North Korea.

 Allocation of $700 under NDAA

Pakistan has been reimbursed and acknowledged for supporting US military operations in Afghanistan. The payment will be made under the security enhancement activities. However, the Congress has put the condition on half of this reimbursement. The bill approved in the congress stated that “during the fiscal year 2018 $350,000,000 shall not be eligible for the waiver under section 1227(d)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year of 2013 (126 Stat. 2001) unless the Secretary of Defense certifies to the congressional defense committees on certain conditions imposed.

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The reimbursement of $350 million will require certification from US secretary of defense James Mattis.

Stringent conditions on reimbursement of $350 million

US Congress has put four conditions (mainly related with operational capability of Haqqani network and alleged presence of safe havens in Pakistan) that must be fulfilled and certified through the secretary of defense to the congressional defense committees.

Pakistan must accomplish the four major tasks assigned under the coalition support program. It is required “to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly disrupting the safe havens, fundraising and recruiting efforts, and freedom of movement of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan.” 

President Trump also sparked the controversy in Pakistan as he had directly blamed Pakistan for not playing a due role in the fight against the insurgents, when he unveiled in his South Asia policy.

Secondly, “Pakistan has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani Network from using any Pakistan territory as a haven and for fundraising and recruiting efforts.”

Moreover, Pakistani the government must demonstrate its seriousness in dismantling the safe heaven, which would require working actively with the Government of Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants along the porous Afghan-Pakistan border.

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Finally, the Secretary of Defense must ensure that Pakistan has shown progress in arresting and prosecuting the senior leadership and mid-level operatives of the Haqqani Network.

Cut in coalition funds

Before this, James Mattis and his predecessor -Ashton Carter, two successive Defense Secretaries refrained from giving such certification, which prevented the conditioned-allocation to Pakistan in past two fiscal years.

The law presented in the Congress also specifically mentioned to monitor Pakistan. This monitoring requires the assessment of military-to-military cooperation between Iran and Pakistan concerning cooperation and collaboration on the development of nuclear, biological, chemical, and advanced conventional weapons, weapon systems, and delivery vehicles.

The reimbursement of $350 million will require certification from US secretary of defense James Mattis.

Moreover, US has shown leniency towards Pakistan as it as they deleted Lashkar-e-Taiba from to-do list and focused only on the Haqqani network. It appears that Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts and negotiations with senior states have been successful as Pentagon agreed to listen to Pakistan’s concerns related to India. However, to ensure the continuation of these corporations require substantial efforts to remove extremist elements within Pakistan’s jurisdiction and assistance in Afghanistan against the Taliban insurgency.

Trump’s campaign pledge and South Asia policy

This bill marks the fulfillment on another campaign pledge, where Trump had promised to boost the defense spending on new ships, submarines, troops, and missiles.

President Trump also sparked the controversy in Pakistan as he had directly blamed Pakistan for not playing a due role in the fight against the insurgents, when he unveiled in his South Asia policy. Secondly, he accused Pakistan of nurturing safe havens for terrorists and allowing them space to operate successfully, which eventually disrupts the peace process envisioned in Afghanistan.

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The reimbursement of $700 million to Pakistan under the coalition support fund and the removal of Lashkar-e-Taiba from the to-do list is the reward of Pakistan’s successful efforts under the coalition support program and recent bilateral engagements. However, Pakistan must eliminate the so-called Haqqani network in order to reduce the trust deficit between the two partners to ensure smooth flow of remaining $350 million into the treasury. 


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