WASHINGTON: A steep decline in US economic and military assistance to Pakis­tan, detailed in a Cong­ressional report released on Tuesday, could also hurt Washington’s desire to prevent cross-border attacks into Afghanistan, statistics show.

The report by Congressional Research Service (CRS) shows that US economic and military assistance for Pakistan plummeted from more than $2.2 billion a year immediately after 9/11 to less than $350 million a year, sought for 2018.

The worst affected, however, is the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), which reimburses Pakistan for monitoring the 2,200-kilometre-long Afghan border. Pakistan has deployed tens of thousands of troops along this border to check cross-border movement of Taliban militants.

Washington says that Pakistan has been successful in eliminating those who threaten the Pakistani state but has not shown much interest in combating the Afghan Taliban, who carry out cross-border attacks on US and Afghan forces. Pakistan rejects the US charge as incorrect, insisting that it’s targeting both Pakistani and Afghan Taliban.

Not satisfied by Pakistan’s response, the United States started attaching conditions to CSF reimbursements. The conditions required Pakistan to act against the Haqqani network if it wants full reimbursements.

In 2015, the US Congress authorised up to $1 billion in additional CSF to Pakistan, $300 million of which was subject to Haqqani network-related certification requirements that cannot be waived by the administration.

In 2016, Congress authorised another $900m, with $350m ineligible for waiver. In 2017, Congress authorised a further $900m, with $400m ineligible for waiver.

For 2018, Congress has authorised another $700m, with $350m ineligible for waiver. The administration did not issue certification — that Pakistan has taken the required steps to eliminate the threat posed by the Haqqanis — for 2015 or 2016. A decision on 2017 certification is pending.

According to the CRS report, between 2002 and 2011 the US provided a total of $22.14bn — including economic support funds, foreign military financing, CSF reimbursements and antiterrorism funding.

This included $8.8bn in reimbursements from the CSF and a total of $5.7bn in security-related aid.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2017

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