US offers Pakistan $2 billion military package
WASHINGTON, Oct 22, (AFP) - The United States has made a new bid to
improve its uneasy war partnership with Pakistan by offering a
two-billion-dollar arms package but warned it will not tolerate human
The five-year assistance plan satisfies a key request of Pakistan's
influential military, which assists the US military in Afghanistan and
was initially uneasy about a US shift to civilian assistance.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that the US
administration would ask Congress to approve two billion dollars in
military aid from 2012 to 2016, replacing an earlier five-year package
"The United States has no stronger partner when it comes to
counterterrorism efforts against the extremists who threaten us both
than Pakistan," Clinton said at three-day talks between the two nations.
But the United States also said that, complying with US law, it has
decided to bar assistance to units accused of abuses. A video surfaced
this month that appears to show Pakistani troops summarily executing six
"We take all allegations of human rights abuses seriously, and we
discuss them with the government of Pakistan," Clinton said. US
officials declined to list the names of units to be blacklisted, but
said there were several.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi promised that
Pakistan was investigating the video but was not yet sure of its
"I can assure you that there will be zero tolerance against human
rights violations," Qureshi said.
The military package would be in addition to 7.5 billion dollars
Congress committed over five years in civilian aid, including building
schools and roads, and millions of dollars more in relief for Pakistan's
The latest military package does not include so-called Coalition
Support Funds, in which the United States financially compensates
Pakistan for military actions.
A US government report in June 2008 estimated that the United States
at that point had given nearly 11 billion dollars in total aid to
Pakistan since the September 11, 2001 attacks, mostly to the military.
Pakistan, which had been the main backer of Afghanistan's Taliban
regime, dumped its support overnight after September 11 and became the
pivotal US partner offering access into its northwestern neighbor.
US officials have long questioned whether Pakistan has fully cut off
ties to Afghanistan's Taliban or acted against extremists at home. But
Pakistan last year launched a major offensive on homegrown Taliban, who
moved perilously close to the nuclear power's capital Islamabad.
"There are still tongue-in-cheek comments, even in this capital,
about Pakistan's heart not really being in this fight. I do not know
what greater evidence to offer than the blood of our people," Qureshi
"Prophets of doom are back in business painting doomsday scenarios
about our alliance. They are dead wrong," he said.
But a White House report to Congress this month faulted Pakistan for
not working against Afghanistan's Taliban, in what experts say is an
attempt by Islamabad to preserve influence in its neighbor if and when
US troops leave.
The United States and India have also said that Pakistan should do
more to rein in fervently anti-Indian groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba,
which is blamed for orchestrating the bloody 2008 siege of Mumbai.
Obama plans to pay his first presidential visit to India next month
in an effort to show his personal commitment to broadening the
relationship between the world's two largest democracies.