ISLAMABAD: The United States has said it will not give Pakistan its leftover military hardware after the completion of withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan later this year.
“United States Forces-Afghanistan does not provide or intend to provide any such equipment, including MRAPs (mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles), from Afghanistan to Pakistan,” a statement issued by the US-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan said.
Isaf Commander Gen Joseph Dunford said: “Our commitment to the Afghan people and the Afghan National Security Forces is unwavering.”
The statement followed uproar in Afghanistan over reports that the US had planned to transfer some of its excess equipment to its ally Pakistan.
The upper house of Afghan parliament – Mesharno Jirga – had warned the US against the handover of hardware to Pakistan.
A resolution passed by the Afghan legislature had described the reported US decision as a “breach of agreement in the war on terror” and called on the US to avoid giving weapons to a country (Pakistan) that, it alleged, supported terrorism.
Afghan Presidential Spokesman Aimal Faizi also had criticised the decision and told the Voice of America: “Afghan security forces need this type of equipment and, as a strategic partner, the US needs to consult Afghanistan before making such a decision.”
Reports about the transfer of equipment had hit headlines after a testimony by Gen Dunford before the US Senate Armed Service Committee in which he had said that the US was planning to give 1,200 MRAP vehicles to Pakistan, Afghanistan and other allies.
There are around 1,600 such vehicles in Afghanistan.
“We’re in the process right now of seeing if there are any of our allies that can use those vehicles…I’ve put a stop on any destruction of any vehicles except those that are battle-damaged,” Gen Dunford had told the panel.
The US had been offering the equipment free of cost to its allies, which would have been required only to pay for its transportation. About 20 countries, including Pakistan, had initially expressed interest in getting MRAP vehicles, but many backed out because of huge cost of transportation involved. Because of continuing militancy and common borders with Afghanistan, Pakistan was considered the most potential candidate for the vehicles along with Afghanistan itself.