WASHINGTON: The Obama Administration, on Tuesday, raised several objections to the draft bill of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2013, including the provisions related to Pakistan, saying that it may veto the bill.
The draft bill was approved by the House Armed Services Committee last week, and is expected to go to the floor of the US House this week for a vote. The NDAA 2013 appropriates money for the US defense budget for fiscal year 2013.
In a press release, the US Administration said, “The Administration strongly objects to the restriction in reimbursement for Pakistan from Coalition Support Funds and the associated certification requirements in section 1211. Taken together, the reimbursement restriction and the certification restrictions – some of which require the Secretary of Defense to certify Pakistani cooperation on issues outside of his purview – are proposed at a particularly sensitive time and would severely constrict DOD’s ability to respond to emergent war-time coalition support requirements, putting at risk the success of our campaign in Afghanistan, and increasing the risk that al Qaeda and its associates would be able to again enjoy a safe haven in Pakistan.”
The draft bill had proposed that the US Secretary of Defense provide a report on the model of the reimbursements to Pakistan. The NDAA 2013 draft bill also called for a bar on preferential imports of goods and services from Pakistan, and reducing aid to 10 per cent till Pakistan reopened the NATO supply routes and extended co-operation.
Other objections raised by the US government on the draft bill include clauses related to detainees at Guantanamo Bay and use of private security contractors in Afghanistan.
In the press release, the Obama Administration’s Executive Office further said, “If the cumulative effects of the bill impede the ability of the Administration to execute the new defense strategy and to properly direct scarce resources, the President’s senior advisors would recommend to the President that he veto the bill.”