US likely to provide additional 400mn-dollar military aid to Pak

Washington, Oct 30 (ANI): The United States is likely to provide an additional annual military assistance of 300-400 million dollars to Pakistan, besides the package of 2.029 billion dollars announced last week, after having a "better understanding" of the latter's position on North Waziristan during the latest round of their strategic dialogue in Washington.

According to diplomatic sources, the money would come from the Pakistan Counter-insurgency Capability Fund (PCCF) set up to help the country fight terrorists along and inside the Pak-Afghan border, the Dawn reported.

Although the House Appropriations Committee had approved 400 million dollars for the counter-insurgency fund last year, the Obama administration sought a 0.5 billion-dollar increase in funds in February this year to bolster Pakistan's counter-insurgency capabilities, the paper said.

The US administration was increasing the fund from 700 million dollars in fiscal 2009 to 1.2 billion dollars in the current fiscal year, which began on October 1. Both the funds - the PCCF and the two-billion-dollar package for purchasing US weapons- are a continuation of the previous five-year programmes, but amounts under both the programmes have been increased.

While the five-year package for military hardware and training has been increased from 1.5 billion dollars, allocated in the previous package, to 2.029 billion, there will be a similar increase in the PCCF, it added.

During last week's strategic dialogue, where the two packages were negotiated, the US also promised to reimburse 750 million dollars of arrears from the Coalition Support Fund, the paper said.

But Pakistani officials, who participated in the dialogue, revealed that "the talks' real achievement" was "a better understanding of Pakistan's position on North Waziristan".

The Pakistanis informed their US counterparts that they already had 39,000 troops in North Waziristan, more than those deployed in South Waziristan. It also assured the Americans that it was willing to continue and even expedite 'surgical operations' against the militants in North Waziristan, but was not in a position to launch a full-fledged military operation.

Besides having physical limitations, the Pakistanis feel that the operation may prove to be counter-productive if conducted without proper preparation to consolidate the gains achieved in the battlefield. (ANI)

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