Washington: Pakistan has been submitting
exaggerated and inaccurate bills to the US for the services
its renders to its forces in Afghanistan, leading to sparring
between the two countries, a media report has said.
"The billing spat has exacerbated tensions between the
countries, which reached a nadir after the US raided the
compound of Osama bin Laden without informing Pakistani
authorities," The Wall Street Journal said in its report.
It said the US has been rejecting more than 40 per
cent of the claims submitted by Pakistan as compensation for
military gear, food, water, troop housing and other expenses.
There was no immediate comment from the Pentagon.
"According to the documents and interviews with
officials, Pakistan has routinely submitted requests that were
unsubstantiated, or were deemed by the US to be exaggerated or
of little or no use in the war on terror, underscoring what
officials and experts see as a deep undercurrent of mistrust
between the supposed allies," the daily said.
"For example, the Pakistani army billed the US 50
million dollars for `hygiene & chemical` expenses, of which
the US agreed to pay only USD 8 million, according to records
covering January 2009 through June 2010. Pakistan`s Joint
Staff, the country`s top military brass, requested USD 580,000
in 2009 to cover food, medical services, vehicle repair and
other expenses, but the US paid nothing," it said.
In another case, the US paid millions to refurbish
four helicopters to help Pakistan`s army transport troops into
battle against Taliban and other militants. But the Pakistanis
ended up diverting three of those aircraft to peacekeeping
duties in Sudan operations for which Islamabad receives
compensation from the United Nations, US officials said.
A senior Pakistani official termed it as "detrimental
to bilateral trust", the daily reported.
US officials say Pakistani claims have been rejected
for a number of reasons, including failure to confirm that
expenses were incurred in support of US operations in
Afghanistan and the war on terror. Some US officials also fear
that some of the aid is being diverted to the border with
Pakistan`s traditional rival, India, it said.
"Secret diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and
reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show that US officials
were taken aback by Pakistani claims as early as 2006,
including a USD 26 million charge for barbed wire and pickets,
and for almost USD 70 million in radar maintenance although
there is no enemy air threat related to the war on terror,"
The Journal reported.