US military aid to fight militants diverted to Pak Govt

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 10:05

London: Leaked US diplomatic cables revealed
that hundreds of millions of dollars in American military aid to Pakistan earmarked for fighting Islamist militants was not used for the desired purpose, but diverted to the government`s
coffers.

According to a report by The Guardian, Pakistan`s army
chief General Ashfaq Kayani said the money, including USD 26
million for barbed wire and USD 70 million to defend against
non-existent Taliban warplanes, had been diverted into the
Islamabad government`s coffers.

"The relationship is one of co-dependency we grudgingly
admit," the embassy noted in February 2009.

"Pakistan knows the US cannot afford to walk away; the US
knows Pakistan cannot survive without our support."

The British daily, which was based on US embassy cables
leaked by WikiLeaks, said that dozens of cables from the
Islamabad embassy portray US officials dangling billions in
aid, offering sophisticated weapons and pushing to provide
counter-insurgency training for Pakistan`s "1940s" army.

General Kayani reportedly worried that his army was seen
as a force "for hire", and chafed at demands for greater
transparency and punishes American diplomats for allegedly
siding with arch-rival India.

US payments for the war against the Taliban and
al-Qaeda in Pakistan`s tribal belt have reportedly exceeded
USD 7.5 billion since 2002.

In December 2007 US diplomats reported multiple
instances where "funds have been diverted and reimbursed
claims figures have been seriously inflated".

When the payments slowed in January 2009 Kayani spoke
candidly about the matter with General David Petraeus, a
cable reported.

Most of the military funds had been diverted to the
federal government, he said.

The newspaper reported that angry about the US
favouring India and worried Washington wanted to increase the
power of Pakistan`s civilian leaders, the "military and
intelligence establishment" was quietly punishing the
Islamabad embassy, one frank dispatch in February 2010 noted.
The military had delayed visas for diplomats, blocked
import permits for armoured vehicles, "sabotaged" a security
contract and was "stopping and detaining embassy vehicles".

"Engagement with the Pakistani military has been
frustrating," one dispatch said.

"Transparency is often nonexistent. Offers of assistance
go unanswered or are overruled at headquarters, even as
Pakistan`s maintenance and training are inadequate."
US Vice-President Joe Biden described relations with
Pakistan as "transactional" and "based on mutual distrust".

"While the army remains fixated on India as Pakistan`s
mortal enemy, the common man is just as likely to point to
America," one of the cables said.

Bureau Report



First Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 10:05

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