US Senate conditions USD 300 million military aid to Pakistan

Washington: The US Senate has moved to block USD 300 million military aid to Pakistan unless the Defence Secretary certifies that the country is taking demonstrable steps against the dreaded Haqqani Network terror outfit.

This forms part of the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA)-2017 passed by the Senate 85-13 votes yesterday.

Notably Defence Secretary Ashton Carter is yet to give the necessary certification to Pakistan for a similar legislation passed by the Congress last year under NDAA-2016.

As a result the Pentagon has not been able to release USD 300 million of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to Pakistan for the fiscal year 2015-2016 ending September 30 this year.

However, the Senate version of the NDAA differs with that of the House, which calls for blocking USD 450 million of the USD 900 million US aid to Pakistan in coalition support fund.

The Senate version has reduced both the figures respectively to USD 300 million and USD 800 million.

Ahead of the Senate voting on NDAA-2017, the White House had opposed any such move.

“We share concerns regarding the threat posed to our forces and interests in Afghanistan by the Haqqani Network, and we continue to engage with Pakistan at the highest levels regarding the need for concerted action specifically against the group,” the White House said in a statement on June 8.

The White House had made similar objection to the House version of the National Defence Authorisation Act.

Since 2002, the United States has disbursed USD 12 billion to Pakistan under coalition support fund (CSF).

“The United States strongly supports ongoing Pakistani counterterrorism efforts. Pakistan has suffered at the hands of terrorists and violent extremists, and the United States will continue to work closely with Pakistan to achieve our shared counterterrorism goals,” a Pentagon official told PTI.

“In our discussions with Pakistan, we have long said that it is in the interest of Pakistan to eliminate safe havens, and we continue to urge Pakistan to take action against all militant groups, particularly the Haqqani Network,” the official said in response to a question.

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