Should US continue to provide Coalition Support Fund to Pakistan Army, asks US Congress reporthttps://indianexpress.com/article/world/americas/should-us-continue-to-provide-coalition-support-fund-to-pakistan-army-asks-us-congress-report/

Should US continue to provide Coalition Support Fund to Pakistan Army, asks US Congress report

CSF accounts for nearly half of overt US financial aid to Pakistan since 2001.

Armed soldiers standing guard outside Pakistan's army headquarters in Rawalpindi (Reuters photo)
Armed soldiers standing guard outside Pakistan’s army headquarters in Rawalpindi (Reuters photo)

A US Congressional research report has asked the 114th US Congress to consider whether it should continue to authorise the Pentagon to provide Pakistan with “Coalition Support Fund” (CSF) reimbursements now that most international forces have departed Afghanistan. CSF accounts for nearly half of overt US financial aid to Pakistan since 2001. At about $13 billion, this amount is one-fifth of Pakistan’s total military expenditures during this period.

Following 9/11 terror attacks, US Congress began appropriating billions of dollars in 2002 to reimburse Pakistan and other nations for their operational and logistical support of US-led counterterrorism operations. Besides paying to deploy more than 100,000 Pakistani troops in northwest Pakistan, CSF payments also officially compensate Islamabad for use of Pakistani airfields and seaports by the US military. Pentagon reporting indicates that roughly half of CSF money is shown as being used for food and ammunition in military operations against militants.

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Asking if “the U.S. sale and granting of major military supplies to Pakistan over the past 15 years substantively improved that country’s counterterrorism capabilities?”, the report gives the details of all the arms given by the US to Pakistan since 2001. Pakistan has paid for $5.4 billion worth of military items while the US financed $3.6 billion worth of weaponry during this period. This is over and above the items transferred free of cost under what the US labels as Excess Defense Articles. In April this year, the US State Department approved a possible $952 million deal with Pakistan to sell 15 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and 1,000 Hellfire II missiles.

AH-1Z Viper is one of the most powerful and advanced attack helicopters flying today whose production started only in 2012. Hellfire, which stands for Helicopter Launched, Fire and Forget Missile, is an Air to Surface missile used for precision strikes against various types of targets.

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“What is the progress of Pakistan’s military operations against militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas? Are there ongoing indications/suspicions that Pakistan’s military and intelligence services play a “double game” with the United States by maintaining friendly links with Afghan insurgent and anti-India militant groups?,” is another question posed by the latest report of the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

CRS reports are not official reports of the US Congress, but prepared by noted experts on an issue to keep the members and committees informed about various aspects. This particular report on Pakistan, dated 14th May, has been prepared by K. Alan Kronstadt of CRS.

The report says that Pakistan’s military is seen to be making distinctions between what it considers to be “good” and “bad” Islamist extremist groups. “Pakistan is a haven for numerous Islamist extremist and terrorist groups, and successive Pakistani governments are widely believed to have tolerated and even supported some of these as proxies in Islamabad’s historical tensions and conflicts with neighbors”, the report adds.

According to the report, there is ongoing concern that Pakistan’s nuclear know-how or technologies remain prone to unauthorised leakage. It also raises concerns about negative effects of Pakistan’s more recent and apparently energetic development of short-range, nuclear-armed missiles, ostensibly to counter India’s Cold Start doctrine. India has repeatedly clarified that it has no such official doctrine.