US report seeks improvement in American aid to Pakistan`s FATA
Washington: A US government report on Friday asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to improve the planning and documentation of American aid to Pakistan`s FATA tribal region, which it says is a safe haven for al Qaeda leadership and a base for the Taliban to launch cross-attacks into Afghanistan.
"The United States, in an effort to assist Pakistan in addressing this threat, pledged USD 750 million between 2007 and 2011 to support development activities in the FATA region," said the report on US aid to Federally Administered Tribal Area by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The GAO recommends that the USAID Administrator work with the Government of Pakistan to develop joint strategic implementation plans, include all FATA-related programs in its tracking report, and address gaps in its performance management plan.
It also recommends that the Secretary of State to improve the collection of performance documentation and that both improve documentation of monitoring of FATA-related programs and activities.
In its previous reports on the issue in 2008 and 2009, the GAO had concluded that the US had not met its national security goals to destroy terrorist threats and close the safe haven in Pakistan`s FATA.
"We also reported that the US lacked a comprehensive plan to meet these goals that included all elements of national power-diplomatic, military, intelligence, economic, law enforcement support, and development assistance," it said, adding that since that time, the US has increased its focus on the use of non-military efforts in Pakistan.
"The US development objectives in the FATA are generally in alignment with US national security goals and the government of Pakistan`s development objectives," it said.
It said despite efforts that have been undertaken to coordinate the alignment of US and Pakistani objectives, joint strategic implementation plans have not been developed. The report said, without addressing gaps in planning, performance, and monitoring documentation, the US government cannot fully and accurately assess the status of current assistance efforts or accountability of funds associated with US development efforts in the FATA.
"Of critical importance is the completion of the development of joint strategic implementation plans with Pakistan that would help ensure that US funds are used in accordance with US national security goals and the needs of the seven FATA agencies," it said.
These plans would aid US officials in determining specific objectives and priorities for providing sustainable development assistance based on local needs, the GAO said.
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