Pentagon notifies Congress to reimburse USD 688 million to Pak

The Pentagon has notified the Congress about its decision to reimburse USD 688 million to Pakistan, under Coalition Support Fund (CSF), which is cost of providing support for some 140,000 troops stationed at the Afghan-Pak border.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, notified the Congress of its decision of the US Department of Defence in a letter dated December 6, 2012, a Pentagon official said.

"In making this determination, I find that the reimbursement is consistent with the national security interest of the United States and will not adversely affect the balance of power in the region," Carter wrote.

In summers the US had reimbursed USD 1.118 billion under the Coalition Support Fund
(CSF) which has now crossed the USD 10.5 billion mark post 9/11, defense officials said.

"This is a concrete illustration that our security relations with Pakistan are indeed moving forward," a defence spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the Senate and the House of Representatives in a conference on the National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2013 has authorized USD 1.65 billion in Coalition Support Funds to reimburse cooperating nations supporting the effort in Afghanistan.

At the same time it "limits the availability of such funds to reimburse Pakistan until the
Secretary of Defense certifies that Pakistan meets certain criteria, including securing the lines of supply through Pakistan to Afghanistan, disrupting cross-border attacks into Afghanistan, and countering the threat from improvised explosive devices," the Senate Armed Services Committee said in a statement.

The Secretary of Defence may waive these certification requirements if in the US national security interests, it said.

It also authorized the Secretary of Defence to support efforts in Pakistan to counter the flow of improvised explosive device chemical precursors.

The bipartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) in a October 2012, to US lawmakers said that CSF have accounted for nearly half of US financial transfers to Pakistan since 2001; as of May 2011, some USD 8.9 billion had been disbursed.

"The amount equals roughly one-fifth to one-quarter of Pakistan's total military expenditures during this period."

According to Secretary of Defense Gates, CSF payments have been used to support many
scores of Pakistani army operations and help to keep more than 100,000 Pakistani troops in the field in northwest Pakistan by paying for their food, clothing, and housing. They also compensate Islamabad for coalition usage of Pakistani airfields and seaports," CRS said.

"The State Department claims that Pakistan's requests for CSF reimbursements are carefully vetted by several executive branch agencies, must be approved by the Secretary of Defense, and ultimately can be withheld through specific congressional action," it said.

"However, a large proportion of CSF funds likely have been lost to waste and mismanagement over the years, given a dearth of adequate controls and oversight. The Bush Administration may have concluded in late 2008 that Pakistan diverted much of the funds toward a military buildup focused on India," CRS said.

One of the leading recipients of US foreign assistance both historically and in recent years, since 1948, the United States has pledged more than USD 30 billion in direct aid, about half for military assistance.

"Two-thirds of this total was appropriated in the post-9/11 era from FY2002 to FY2011," the CRS report said.

According to CRS, about two-thirds of US aid from FY2002 to FY2012, some USD 15.8 billion (including Coalition Support Fund reimbursements), has supported security assistance in Pakistan.

Of that, about USD 9.5 billion has been funded through Defence Department appropriations, with USD 6.4 billion in security assistance for Pakistan funded through the Department of State appropriations.

"Economic assistance for Pakistan from FY2002 to FY2012 has totaled more than USD 7.8 billion. About 85 per cent (or USD 6.6 billion) of that was within the Economic Support Fund (ESF), which grew dramatically in FY2009 and FY2010, but has been scaled back since," it said.

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