More peanuts: New US Security Package is too little too late

October 23, 2010

Pakistan suffers a loss of $20 per year. Pakistan gets less aid than Afghanistan! The Kerry Lugar Bill instead of ameliorating the losses, in fact exacerbates the economic woes of the country by generating instability in the entire region. Pakistan has been asking US help with choppers, night vision glasses, drones, and planes for the past decade so that it can more effectively fight the war on its borders. Instead of the critical equipment the US has now offered another loan to Pakistan–as if it needed another $2 Billion loan!

30,000 Pakistani civilians have died in the America’s war. 7000 Security personnel have perished. Pakistanis face suicide bombings on a daily basis–yet an ingrate administration continues to put pressure on Pakistan “to do more”. A vitriolic US press continues to berate Pakistan mocking the sacrifice of blood and gore. Most of that vituperation is based on anonymous reprots from serving US diplomats and Department of Defense personnel. Maps are published in US defense journals that threaten Pakistani territory. Thinktankers talk about partitioning Afghanistan so that Pakistan has to face perpetual war with the Pakhtuns and Tajiks. Former officials make fun of the sacrifices of Pakistan, by doubting the intentions, and NATO provokes reactions by challenging  Pakistan sovereignty. Some say that NATO is conducting negotiating with the Afghans National Resistance bypassing the only Major Non-NATO Ally in the region (MNNA) which is Pakistan. These are suicidal diplomatic cul de sacs for ISAF which will further rile the Pakistanis.

The so called “aid” is so little that it doesn’t even cover the cost of troop movements. Who pays for the damage to Pakistani roads? Who pays for the wear and tear of Pakistani bridges? Who should have built trains from Karachi to Torkham? NATO trucks rumble through Pakistan roads destroying them–without paying international Octroi. The 500 trucks going through Pakistan should be paying $5000 per trip to Islamabad. NATO should be maintaining the roads built to US freeway specifications.  US planes abuse Pakistani territory without paying for the use of bases on Pakistani soil. Each bases should be costing US $1 Billion per year. Yet Pakistan gets the blame for anything that goes wrong anywhere.

NATO and ISAF’s incompetence is self-evident in Afghanistan. The defeated US generals needs an scapegoat and Pakistan is the favorite whipping boy.

The Afghan National Army (ANA) gets the goodies, the Pakistani Army gets saddled with more loans! Amazingly the loans are shown as “aid” and given as colossal favor! Hoolbrooke doesn’t miss an opportunity in double counting the aid to the victims, which is actually the Kerry Lugar Bill aid moved around.

The US-Pakistani strategic Dialogue could have could have addressed systemic issues of logistics, infrastructure and long term deterrence. Instead it focused on a partial payment which won’t even arm the Frontier Constabulary–let alone the Frontier Corps.

If the US was serious in its war goals, it would have moved massive equipment to the Pakistanis a decade ago. $2 billion doesn’t buy too many choppers, or drones. The Pakistan Army will continue to fight the war on a shoe-strong, while Washington wastes billions on the ANA.

Pakistan needs trade not aid. There has been no movement on ROZ and FTAs which would have really helped Pakistan improve its economy by avoiding stiff tariffs on its goods.

The US owes Pakistan $2.5 billion in reimbursement fees for services provided. Oly 700 million is being released, and that too after a colossal delay. Islamabad is not even getting money for logistical supplies which have already been given to NATO. The delay is costing the Pakistanis money that it can ill afford to spend on the American war. The BBC describes the skeletal details of the package which is spread over five years. That dilutes the effectiveness of the package.

The US has announced a $2bn (£1.3bn) package of military and security aid to Pakistan on the final day of the latest Washington-Islamabad strategic talks.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the five-year deal, which is subject to Congressional approval.

But the Obama administration will make clear it expects Islamabad to do more in the fight against Islamic militants.

The US has given Pakistan more than $1bn of military aid a year since 2005; last fiscal year, it gave nearly $2bn.

US officials said Pakistan needed further, specific assistance for the fight against militants and needed to know it could rely on the US in the long term.

So unlike previous military aid approved on a yearly basis, this is a five-year package.

The aid will pay for equipment needed in counter-insurgency and counter-terror operations, among other things. US announces $2bn military aid package for Pakistan. By Kim Ghattas. BBC News, Washington

While NATO luxuriates in safe zones in NATO, it is the Pakistanis that are left to fend for themselves and wage war on the insurgents, who used to be US allies. While ISAF sends out weekend missions to impress the NY Times, the Pakistani civilians take blasts from the spillover of the war in Afghanistan.

No other nation has sacrificed more than the Pakistanis–and all it gets is “do more mantras’ from an ingrate US press, and lectures from former Ambassadors and discarded officials who have cushy jobs in think-tanks on the Potomac.

Kim Ghattas of the BBC describes the aid scenario.

‘Reducing threats to US’

Vali Nasr, a senior adviser on Pakistan and Afghanistan at the state department, told the BBC that the battle against Pakistani militants had expanded over the last year, but the summer’s monsoon floods had undone a lot of the Pakistani army’s efforts.

“We believe that we have made a great deal of progress and we believe that that progress has reduced the threat to our homeland, while not eliminating it,” Richard Holbrooke, the US special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan, said this week.

But officials in Washington have also been frustrated at the limits of Pakistan’s desire and ability to help.

A White House report sent to Congress earlier this month lamented the Pakistani army’s inability to hold territory it had seized from insurgents, a failure that means gains are likely to be short-lived.

“The Pakistan military continued to avoid military engagements that would put it in direct conflict with Afghan Taliban or al-Qaeda‘s forces in North Waziristan,” the report said, referring to the region in north-western Pakistan seen as a Taliban and al-Qaeda haven.

“This is as much a political choice as it is a reflection of an under-resourced military prioritising its targets.”

The report also said the civilian leadership did not have the trust of the people and faced “broad-based” challenges that had “the potential to impact the stability of the government”.

US officials said Pakistan needed further, specific assistance for the fight against militants

Cross-border attack

Mr Nasr said the solution was not to withdraw US investment from Pakistan, but rather to help the Pakistani government and military strengthen the country’s institutions.

The Pakistani government is in fact crucial to that strategy, and this can make Washington vulnerable.

A crisis in ties between the two countries last month has highlighted the fine line the Obama administration must walk as it cajoles and pressures its ally.

After at least two Pakistani troops were killed in a Nato cross-border attack in September, a furious Islamabad blocked the main transit route for military supplies to Afghanistan until it received a formal apology.

During the row, dozens of lorries laden with fuel and supplies were destroyed by militants in Pakistan while en route to the frontier.

The US-Pakistan strategic dialogue, which started last year, is designed to build trust and keep the conversation going between the two countries, not just about security, but about a wide range of issues from healthcare to education and water projects.

‘Not enough sticks’

The five-year package announced on Friday is meant to complement a $7.5bn package of civilian aid over five years that was approved by the US in 2009.

It is all designed to reduce Islamic militants’ allure and to win Pakistanis’ hearts.

“We want to expand the security relationship that Pakistan and the US had in the past under the Bush period to be much broader,” Mr Nasr said, “to involve things that also matter to Pakistanis and impacts their daily lives.

“A relationship means that we don’t focus only on things that are important to us, but also things that are important to Pakistanis.

“Average Pakistanis have to see value in their engagement with the US before they subscribe to that relationship.” US announces $2bn military aid package for Pakistan. By Kim Ghattas. BBC News, Washington

Amazingly the military aid package comes at a time when the US is packing its bags and leaving Afghanistan. While the US talks to all sections of the Afghan National Resistance (Hizb e Islami, Haqqanis, Rabbanis, Taliban etc.), it wants Pakistan to sever all its security ties with the people that the US is making peace with. Washington wants Pakistan to wage war while the Afghans and the Americans make peace with the Haqqanis!

They they wonder, why there is Anti-Americanism in Pakistan!


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