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Obama administration seeks decline in aid to Pakistan

July 03, 2013 08:50 IST

The Obama administration has requested to the US Congress for a steep decline in its economic and security aid to Pakistan for the year 2014, a latest Congressional report has said.

The request, if accepted, will see this aid coming down by more than one-third against that given to Pakistan in 2012.

"The administration has requested nearly $1.2 billion economic and security aid to Pakistan for financial year 2014. This represents a steep decline from total assistance of about $1.9 billion (excluding Coalition Support Fund) during financial year 2012," the report on US aid to Pakistan prepared by the Congressional Research Service said.

Estimated financial year 2013 allocations are not yet available, said CRS, which is the bipartisan and independent research wing of the US Congress and prepares periodic reports on issues of interest to the US lawmakers, so that they can take informed decisions.

Since 1948, the US has pledged more than $30 billion in direct aid, about half for military assistance, and more than two-thirds appropriated in the post-2001 period.

According to the CRS, the fiscal 2014 budget request indicates the level of importance the Obama administration places on a "stable, democratic, and prosperous" Pakistan because of its "critical role" in the region with respect to US counter-terrorism efforts, nuclear nonproliferation, regional stability, the peace process in Afghanistan, and regional economic integration and development.

For fiscal year 2014, beginning October 1 this year, the administration is requesting a total of $1,162.57 million, of which about two-thirds is for economic assistance and one-third is for security assistance.

"The total includes $281.2 million, considered to be Overseas Contingency Operations that is not part of the core request but is identified by the administration as extraordinary, temporary funding needs for frontline states,"

The civilian assistance will focus on five key areas -- energy, stabilisation, social services (especially health and education), economic growth (including agriculture), and improving governance, including transparency and gender equality.

Security assistance will focus on building counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism capabilities, strengthening military-to-military cooperation and supporting the ability for Pakistan to provide security to its citizens, particularly along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the report said.

The administration's financial year 2014 budget request seeks $765.7 million (and $252.2 million in Overseas Contingency Operations funds) within the Economic Support Fund (ESF) for energy assistance, economic growth and agriculture, education, health, and cross-cutting issues such as supporting gender equality, human rights, better governance, and political participation, CRS said.

In the Foreign Military Financing (FMF), $300 million for Pakistan in the financial year 2014 request, would provide support for the counter-insurgency (COIN) and counter-terrorism (CT) capabilities of Pakistan's security forces, and would encourage US-Pakistan military-to-military engagement, the report said.

The administration has requested $17.87 million under Non-proliferation, Anti-terrorism, Demining and Related Programmes, to provide training to build the capacity for Pakistan to detect, deter, and respond to terrorist threats and improve border security.

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