US Congress conditions $400 million of $900 million aid to Pakistan
In a significant move, the US Congress has said that $400 million in aid to Pakistan cannot be released unless the defence secretary certifies that Islamabad is “taking demonstrable” steps against the Haqqani network, which is accused of targeting American interests.
Passed by the Senate by 92 to 7 votes on Thursday, the 2017 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) in facts imposes four conditions on Pakistan to be eligible for $400 million of the $900 million of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF).
Passed by the US House of Representatives (by 375 to 34 votes) last week, NDAA 2017 now heads to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign it into law.
As per NDAA-2017, the defence secretary needs to certify to the Congress that Pakistan continues to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly disrupting the safe haven and freedom of movement of the Haqqani network in Pakistan and that Pakistan has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent+ the group from using its territory.
The defence secretary also needs to certify that Pakistan actively coordinates with Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants, such as the Haqqani network, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border; and finally that Pakistan has shown progress in arresting and prosecuting Haqqani network senior leaders and mid-level operatives.
US defence secretary Ashton Carter had refused to give a similar certification+ to Pakistan this year as a result of which Islamabad was not given a $300 million under the CSF.
The Haqqani network has carried out a number of kidnappings and attacks against US interests in Afghanistan. The group is also blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people.