US dithers over war on terror payment

February 26th, 2008 - 1:47 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Feb 26 (ANI): The Bush Administration has recently been reluctant to build up Pakistans capability to fight terrorists, often refusing to provide equipment needed to enhance the countrys potential to engage the militants.
Also, during the last six month, the Pentagon has slowed the process for reimbursing the bills Pakistan submits for the expenses incurred during its engagement with the extremists, diplomatic sources have said.
Bills for the March-June 2007 quarter were reimbursed only recently while those for July to October was still pending.
Pakistans Defence Ministry submits the bills monthly for maintaining its 80,000-100,000 troops along the Afghan border.
Recent reports in the US media claimed that no receipts were attached to these bills. Yet the US has disbursed about 80 million dollars monthly for the past six years, the reports said.
The US media also reported that the Pentagon is reconsidering its policy for reimbursing Pakistani troops and may demand proper accounting for the money it sends.
Allegations of misappropriation of funds and of the US desire to tighten the process are also heard at congressional hearings.
Pakistan, however, has rejected such reports as misleading, adding that such official leaks amount to blackmailing.
In Washington, diplomatic sources told Dawn that so far they had not seen any official indication that the US intended to stop reimbursements or was reconsidering the present arrangement.
The sources said that since mid 2007, they had noticed a new reluctance in building up Pakistans capability to fight terrorism.
According to these sources, the US pays Pakistan 650 dollars per soldier per month. In Afghanistan, the US is spending 80,000 dollars per soldier per month and 100,000 dollars per soldier per month in Iraq.
“So you can see that there is no comparison between what Pakistan gets and what is the international norm,” said one diplomatic source.
The arrangement under the Coalition Support Funds allows Pakistan to submit bills for food, clothing, fuel charges, transportation, medical service, damaged and destroyed equipment, helicopter flying hours, repair and maintenance and communication services. (ANI)

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