Restoration of military aid: United States offers quid pro quo

Published: August 24, 2011

Prime Minister Gilani and US Senator Levin during a meeting at the PM House. PHOTO: PPI

ISLAMABAD: 

The United States has offered to restore $800 million in military aid to Pakistan if it reverses its decision of expelling US military trainers in the aftermath of the May 2 Abbottabad raid that had killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

The offer came from an influential US Democrat, Senator Carl Levin, at a meeting with Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Tuesday, a Pakistani official familiar with the development told The Express Tribune.

Leading a delegation of US congressmen, Senator Levin – who is the chairman of Senate’s Arms Services Committee – also held separate meetings with President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said Gen Kayani refused to review the decision anytime soon.

Pakistan Army expelled close to 100 US military trainers from the country in June in a show of displeasure over the Bin Laden raid. The Pakistani move, the US said, compelled it to withhold $800 million in military assistance.

At a meeting with the US delegation, President Zardari voiced concern over reports of the proposed cut in assistance for Pakistan. “Any cut in assistance would impact our existing economic conditions,” said an official statement quoting the president as telling the visiting US senators.

Zardari said the move would also send negative signals to the public about the US commitment to the people of Pakistan “when they are suffering heavily in economic terms due to unparalleled toll of the war against terror.”

The president hoped that all such steps would be avoided, the statement added.

President Zardari said drag on our relations due to operational irritants can effectively be avoided if the terms of engagements were clearly defined and followed in their true essence by the two countries.

In a meeting with Prime Minister Gilani, Senator Levin underlined the importance of bringing back US-Pakistan relations on even keel because both the countries are fighting the common enemy who is ‘using violence as IEDs.’

(Read: Pakistan key to regional economic integration, says US)

According to an official handout, Premier Gilani expressed reservations over the failure of the US-led Nato troops to stop infiltration of militants at the Pak-Afghan border.

“One wonders how terrorists dare go to Afghanistan without being eliminated by the Isaf and Nato Forces which are equipped with the most advanced weapons,” Gilani asked.

He underscored the importance of relations between the US and Pakistan to go beyond terrorism and cover other areas of bilateral relations on durable basis for the benefit of people of both countries.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (27)

  • Mohan Ram
    Aug 24, 2011 - 5:34AM

    It takes two to tango. So general if you want 800m start the tango

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  • Jamaluddin
    Aug 24, 2011 - 6:14AM

    “Please alow are trainers on your soil, we will train you and give you $800million too”……. Daal mein kuch kala hay….. (there is something fishy).

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  • Asad
    Aug 24, 2011 - 7:45AM

    Just makes you wonder what is so important about these ‘trainers’? Its like they are saying to some one we want to train you even if you don’t want to training. I am sure these ‘trainers’ are not there for training.

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  • Mirza
    Aug 24, 2011 - 8:00AM

    Pakistan would do everything that the US wants. Money talks, and there are no free lunches.

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  • Aug 24, 2011 - 8:12AM

    Pay us money to get trainers near our military facilities. What is the motive of such altruistic country like USA?

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  • RizwanTKhan
    Aug 24, 2011 - 9:42AM

    And then US calls itself the leader/champion of social justice and equality. I say further strict the rules on all American nationals just the way they have done with Pakistanis.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Aug 24, 2011 - 10:02AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Pakistan army got the award of the strongest army of the world then why American trainers are required to train Pakistani personnels?These trainers in Pakistan are appointed for some furtive and hidden objectives not only for training purpose.

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  • vasan
    Aug 24, 2011 - 10:02AM

    Heard of HUMINT. That is what putting trainers is all about. Only they can find out where is Mullah Omer in Pakistan like they found out about OBL. No wonder Pakistanis are upset about HUMINT because they will lose their strategic asset and the self proclaimed “Caliph of the Islamic emirates of Afganistan(&Pakistan as well)”

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  • Frank
    Aug 24, 2011 - 10:49AM

    Oh God, they don’t give up, do they? Just what do we have to do to get America out of our hair?

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  • My Name is Khan
    Aug 24, 2011 - 10:59AM

    Wow, the US government is an easy customer. That’s all Pakistan has to do? Easiest $800 million ever.

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  • vivek
    Aug 24, 2011 - 11:00AM

    why would the move by US would send negative signals to the pakistanis.. the commitment is not theirs, it’s yours mr.president. wow what a leader pakistan is having..

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  • Pragmatist
    Aug 24, 2011 - 11:01AM

    Even from an Indian perspective, I am intrigued by this proposal from the US. On the face of it, it would seem that the US is bending over backwards to save Pakistan from itself. But experience tells me better. What is the iron that the US has in the fire? Why is it so keen to have the “trainers” back in – especially at this violent juncture. I get the feeling that somewhere in this equation there is the simple matter of the nukes. Should an unstable nation like Pakistan even have nukes? That is a question the world will have to answer for in the years to come.

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  • Aug 24, 2011 - 11:05AM

    @Mirza: Those days with the USA are over. Pakistan will not dance to the US tune anymore, unless you bring back the ‘disco dancer’ (Musharraf).

    Note: The word ‘trainer’ is another word for insurgents or operatives. Like in Vietnam small contingents of US soldiers were called ‘advisers’ before the real onslaught of the US armed forces, which ultimately led to their defeat.

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  • woohoo
    Aug 24, 2011 - 11:20AM

    Bye bye Pak nukes and goodbye islamic bomb!!

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  • Arindom
    Aug 24, 2011 - 11:38AM

    May I draw an analogy of the key countries of the world to a leafy, peaceful and well-to-do middle-class neighbourhood. While many households may have a Gun, these remain locked and the Gun remains safe in the basement and they don’t talk about it in polite conversations around the neighbourhood. It is meant only for use in an extreme circumstance. Moreover, people in the neighbourhood follow different religions, but respect each other’s religion and respect boundaries and also do not dump garbage over each other’s fence! In this neighbourhood (world community) is a particular family (Pakistan) that proudly wears his Gun (N-weapon) on stuffed carelessly in his belt as he walks on the street openly boasting (Islamic Bomb, talk all the time about the ‘BUMB’ etc) about it, goes on harbouring drunks and rowdies (terrorists) in the house and then when it doesnot have money to buy groceries (economic development) stands in the local shopping centre (IMF) cap in hand begging for money. Once the richest man in the neighbourhood (USA) throws down some money, this family (Pakistan) then goes about talking ill and spreading gossip about this man (US).

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  • ashok sai
    Aug 24, 2011 - 11:51AM

    Cat and Mouse game, problem here is, the mouse has a bomb attached to its tail. So, cat has to play it carefully since mouse has nothing to lose except the bomb and it won’t mind sinking itself while taking others also with it.

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  • Aug 24, 2011 - 12:37PM

    To the paranoid ones wondering about the importance of trainers, you’re too in love with your victim image. The reason is simple. It’s for a number of reasons of technical mutual benefit. Trainers train your army as if they were training their own, so that requires equipping your army with the things they are trained to use. There are also other miscellaneous costs. You could argue that aspect is suspect because it amounts to taking back part of the $800 billion in exchange for the weapons. However, it is “military aid.” That’s where the money would go anyways. It still does amount to them being paid for and not donated. Now, if they were inferior, then that is worth a complaint though they aren’t. Another purpose of trainers are an indirect way of offsetting the negative impact of your military being taught false things about the US. They can see for themselves. One more is, like it or not, the military training received in Pakistan is plainly inferior regardless of the self flattery that never gets lived up to about their abilities it has employed in the past. If your military isn’t competent in being able to hold up Pakistan’s side, that too, is negative for the US. You dragging your feet and being incompetent and then throwing a fit when someone else does the job or completely blocking them from doing so regardless of that fact are some the primary things dragging this war out. There are also other things but I just don’t feel like rambling anymore. Though, in advance, yes, there is something in it for the US. Quite a few things. But, they aren’t the things your paranoid, irrational conspiracy minded selves are reaching for.

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  • Jeez
    Aug 24, 2011 - 12:54PM

    Money talks, and sovereignty walks… I’m not surprised our heads of state have stooped this low..but quite surprised that Americans have…

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  • Khan
    Aug 24, 2011 - 4:14PM

    @SWolf:
    And why exactly are people paranoid? Please answer a simple question … How can one believe that the US a sole super power and the mightiest military in the world when getting UBL planned the attack completely … were sending 30,000 soldiers to get 1 person .. knew very well will cost them trillions $$$ … and even a layman knew that if that one person is to escape in true RAMBO style, is going to run towards only one and single place .. that is the buffer lawless FATA thousand of miles away from the place where he was … And yet the US “let” it happen? Why?.
    I am not saying that US intentions are these but If any one would want to dismember Pakistan … they will follow the same policy … Knowing well the customs and traditions of Tribal areas after spending time there during Cold War era. Every single person there carry gun and fight for honor and will fight against any foreign troops come to that area thus you get a perfect excuse of retaliation because you got attacked from “across the border” and you have to stay there for a decade because you let your mouse (UBL) run there. Add more fuel to that by sending in drones killing any one at your own will as you can show the naive world they were carrying guns thus are terrorists. In retaliation those people according to their thousand years old traditions take revenge on Pakistan and thus an in fighting starts.
    IF the US is serious about bringing peace to the region first thing they need to do is agree to seal the border and repatriate Millions of refugees living here and work Jointly in all areas instead of forcing things. Also its a fact that 60% casualties on NATO part occurs in those areas which are not adjacent to Tribal Areas then why is US focusing only on these areas. Its been 10 years What progress has US done in Afghanistan it self and how many areas it has take back from Taliban so far? Why are there still areas still out of their control.
    They need to be more focused on that part first instead of wasting time and energies here.

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  • Alami Musafir
    Aug 24, 2011 - 11:08PM

    Given the very unreliable track record of the US as arms supplier to Pakistan (eg 1965 war, 1971 war, Pressler, the F-16s etc etc) it would be the height of stupidity to again put our head into the noose. For example, we go and buy replacement P-3 Orions and 1 year later critical spare parts are witheld due to our “lack of committment to the war on terror” or some such reason. Then what do we do ? The weapon systems would become useless junk. It would be far better to tell them to stop their aid and instead rely completely on ourselves/China/even Russia. The cost of the latter policy would be far less than the former in the medium to long term. Recommend

  • Delhi Belly
    Aug 25, 2011 - 12:27AM

    Dues Pakistan(is) have to pay for it’s miscalculation in choosing alliances. We ( India and Pakistan) have to start thinking wisely and strategically instead of thinking emotionally and defensively. The true benefit of India and Pakistan’s friendship will be nobody else but Indians and Pakistanis. The true looser will be everybody else who has been filling their pockets reaping from this enmity between us. This is like two brothers fighting and trusting everybody else more than their own disgruntled sibling. Of many wise moral stories our grand parents tell us, how much have we really implied in our life?

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  • Alami Musafir
    Aug 25, 2011 - 1:16AM

    @Delhi Belly
    May I compliment you on your good sense ? And might I add a speculation, namely that the near future will require us to unite and fight together for our very survival, that the scales will fall from our eyes and we shall look at our post-independance history as yet another manifestation of “divide and rule”. Pakistan can never unite with India, the memory of the blood shed by our forefathers during partition will always prevent that. But the next best solution would be an alliance. For that to occur, India must resolve the Kashmir dispute according to the wishes of the Kashmiris. I tell you sir, that so long as this problem is ignored, there can never be an alliance and our nations will instead tear at each other’s throats. That would destroy us and benefit those who desire our mutual annhilation.

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  • David Salmon
    Aug 25, 2011 - 2:45AM

    To toss in my two cents worth, however belatedly and pointlessly:

    Gen. Kayani tossed out the trainers. The US aid included $800 million for trainers. No trainers, no need for the aid, so it was stopped. Zero-sum game. You don’t get both.

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  • ex hindu
    Aug 25, 2011 - 7:00AM

    its not 800 million…its 300 million rent for use of Pakistani Logistical facilities.Pakistan rejected American trainers. America pays the trainers 500 million dollars a year because of its own corruption with in Pentagon, Pakistan can find the same trainers for 50 million dollar a year

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  • Aug 25, 2011 - 7:51AM

    @David Salmon: We dont want any of your stuff or call it by any other name. Our no account politicians want your aid. It is their money in your banks and realty.
    The number of times your country has been puckering up to us after the RD affair is not only amazing but shocking. More so, why are you people ten thousand miles away from your seaboards??? Go back to your towns, cities and homes and try to spread intrigues and conspiracies among your mobs, mafias, drug lords and extremist groups.

    @SWolf: You can be candid or cynical. It makes no difference to majority of Pakistanis.
    If our training was inferior and your training superior, well it’s been ten years and Afghanistan is worse off than it was before you Americans polluted it. How come your army does not go out to face the Taliban one-on-one, or division on division???

    Why dont you both read what the Founding Fathers had to say about your foreign policy??? Hopefully better sense will then prevail and your USD. Fifteen trillion debts will become less. Let peace prevail all over the world minus the real ‘Axis of Evil’ (USA, UK, ISRAEL and India).

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  • Alami Musafir
    Aug 25, 2011 - 1:54PM

    @SWolf
    You typify the American mindset…mine is bigger, mine is better. The reality is that a ragtag collection of natives armed with small arms and homemade explosives has pinned down the mightiest military in the world with its drones, stealth fighters, aircraft carriers etc., for TEN years ! So what’s your miltary training worth ?

    Precious little, based on these facts.

    Almost exactly 40 years ago Vietnam sank your economy (Nixon & the Gold Window), making you a nation living off the earnings of others. While pretending to have a fantastic productive economy, you have in truth being living on borrowed money (and borrowed time), the economy being a sham.

    Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires, will likely deliver the coup de grace to you.

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  • Syed Mateen
    Aug 25, 2011 - 3:17PM

    Well, it seems that the begging bowl will be extended yet again and the US will have its way with Pakistan again. What sort of a relationship is this and who are these ‘US Military Trainers’ and what is there real purpose in Pakistan? Is it to estimate Pakistan’s military strenth and weaknesses, devise a strategy and aid or assist in a covert attack on our nuclear faclities? What is the need to have these obvious CIA operatives travellin freely in Pakistan. I would not be surprised if the Karachi riots have been in some way strategized by these CIA assets in Pakistan in order to create a continued sense of unrest in the Country to occupy the army to such an extent that it cannot carry out its principle function which is to defend the country.

    America is not an ‘easy customer’ as one comment above mentions. It is infact a very maniplulative adversary and a ‘friend’ that has let down Pakistan on so many occasions that it is hard to remember.

    In any case, why do we need these ‘trainers’ and this $800 Million. I think its high time that we called their bluff and Kayani should simply said: “Take back your trainers and we dont ned your $800 Million bribe”. Let’s see what happens then.

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