US announces 2 billion dollars as military aid to Pakistan

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Washington, Oct.22 (ANI): The United States on Friday announced two billion dollars package of military and security aid to Pakistan on the final day of the latest Washington-Islamabad strategic talks.

However, unlike previous military aid approved on a yearly basis, this is a five-year package.

The aid will pay for equipment needed in counter-insurgency and counter-terror operations, among other things.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said the United States will offer two billion dollars in fresh military assistance to Pakistan, hailing Islamabad's efforts against extremist groups.

The United States has "no stronger partner when it comes to counter-terrorism" than Pakistan, Clinton said at high-level talks between the two nations held in Washington.

The five-year deal is subject to Congressional approval.

But the Obama administration is expected to make clear that it expects Islamabad to do more in the fight against Islamic militants.

The US has given Pakistan more than one billion dollars of military aid a year since 2005; last fiscal year, it gave nearly 2bn dollars.

US officials said Pakistan needed further, specific assistance for the fight against militants and needed to know it could rely on the US in the long term.ut officials in Washington have also been frustrated at the limits of Pakistan's desire and ability to help.

A White House report sent to Congress earlier this month lamented the Pakistani army's inability to hold territory it had seized from insurgents, a failure that means gains are likely to be short-lived.

"The Pakistan military continued to avoid military engagements that would put it in direct conflict with Afghan Taliban or al-Qaeda's forces in North Waziristan," the report said, referring to the region in north-western Pakistan seen as a Taliban and al-Qaeda haven.

"This is as much a political choice as it is a reflection of an under-resourced military prioritising its targets."

The report also said the civilian leadership did not have the trust of the people and faced "broad-based" challenges that had "the potential to impact the stability of the government".

The five-year package announced on Friday is meant to complement a 7.5bn dollars package of civilian aid over five years that was approved by the US in 2009, said the BBC report.

It is all designed to reduce Islamic militants' allure and to win Pakistanis' hearts. (ANI)

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