US senate sub-committee votes to tie Pakistan aid to supply routes

Published: May 23, 2012

"We're not going to be giving money to an ally that won't be an ally," Graham told reporters. PHOTO: AFP

"We're not going to be giving money to an ally that won't be an ally," Graham told reporters. PHOTO: AFP Senator Patrick Leahy said: "There is less and less support for giving aid to Afghanistan." PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: A US Senate panel voted cuts in aid to Pakistan on Tuesday and threatened to withhold even more cash if Islamabad does not reopen its supply routes for Nato soldiers in Afghanistan, reflecting American frustration over the months-long standoff.

The action by the Senate appropriations subcommittee on foreign aid followed a weekend Nato summit in Chicago at which Washington had hoped to reach a deal with Islamabad to end the supply line dispute.

Pakistan had closed the supply routes through its territory to Afghanistan in protest when US aircraft killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border last November. Nato has been compensating through expanded shipments of war supplies via Afghanistan’s other neighbors, the Northern Distribution Network, but those routes are more expensive.

On Tuesday, the Senate panel voted to cut aid to Pakistan by 58 per cent in fiscal 2013 from the request by the administration of President Barack Obama, said the panel’s chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat like Obama.

The senators voted $1 billion for Pakistan, including $800 million in foreign aid. However, funding for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund was reduced to just $50 million, and subjected it to the reopening of supply lines’, said Senator Lindsey Graham, the panel’s top Republican.

“We’re not going to be giving money to an ally that won’t be an ally,” Graham told reporters.

The counterinsurgency fund was established several years ago to help train and equip Pakistan’s military.

The funding cut though must still be approved by the full Senate and the House of Representatives before it can become law. But criticism of Pakistan in Congress and demands for a complete aid cutoff have been growing, especially after Osama bin Laden was found and killed by US forces in Abbottabad a little more than a year ago.

Pakistan has been one of the leading recipients of US foreign aid and in recent years. US lawmakers have approved more than $20 billion in aid and reimbursements since 2001.

The administration had suspended $800 million in aid for Pakistan’s military last year, but American officials have suggested the aid could be restored if Pakistan displays more commitment to counter-terrorism operations.

Range of aid cuts

The panel also voted to eliminate funding for a police training program for Iraq, saying the danger and expense were just too great after the American troop pullout last year.

“Why keep throwing good money after bad?” asked Leahy.

The panel refused to provide $850 million that President Barack Obama’s administration requested for fiscal year 2013 for the program, in which US security advisers are training Iraqi police. It has been seen as a key component of the US civilian aid mission to Iraq now that US troops are gone.

The cut was part of an attempted re-ordering of US aid priorities by the Senate appropriators in a time of budget austerity. The lawmakers opted to slash US aid programs in battle-scarred countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to preserve some cash for foreign aid elsewhere.

Aid to Pakistan and Iraq have been controversial for some time in Congress. But Leahy said: “There is less and less support for giving aid to Afghanistan.”

“I’ve asked them (the State Department) to look at what aid programs are sustainable,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“If the idea is you can have two aid workers, provided you have 20 highly paid security people, I don’t see that that accomplishes a great deal,” Leahy said.

The Senate foreign aid subcommittee approved a total of $52.1 billion for the State Department and US foreign aid for fiscal 2013 that starts in October. That was $2.6 billion below the Obama administration’s request. House appropriators recently approved even less money – $48.3 billion.

The senators subtracted $5 million from aid provided to Egypt, to reimburse the US Treasury for money it paid to bail out US pro-democracy activists facing charges there earlier this year.

“I’ll be darned if I am going to give them (the Egyptian government) that money,” Leahy said.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • May 23, 2012 - 7:30AM

    Please take your aid, all of it, and give it to the poor in USA. They require it more than us.

    We have not benefited from the aid in sixty-five years because it’s foraged away by the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. So next time, please do not say “aid to Pakistan” say “aid to Pakistani politicians and bureaucrats.” Pakistanis will commemorate the day every year in your honor. Salams

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  • John B
    May 23, 2012 - 8:24AM

    After OBL and NATO supply route closing, I do not think any senator will support PAK aid without clearly defined measurable goals from PAK. PAK made a terrible mistake in her foreign policy area by alienating her supporters in US congress and in the state department.

    Closing NATO supply route especially when AFG issue is winding down is an opportunistic black mail, especially when all in the US are still waiting for PAK answer to OBL retirement in PAK.

    PAK game of holding gun to her own head in negotiating with US has not been working with this administration.

    Drone mission was planed and conducted while PAK president was returning from Chicago. So, what leverage does PAK have now?

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  • May 23, 2012 - 8:24AM

    Great job. Indians have been asking for this for the longest while.

    US aid since the 1950s was the reason Pakistan was allowed to punch above its weight. Now, that is reducing and will completely vanish once 2014 withdrawal starts(just 2 years away).

    Who knows.. I hear sanction bells in the air.

    Remember, Iran has plenty of natural resources yet it is wilting under US sanctions. What resources does Pakistan have, I wonder.

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    May 23, 2012 - 8:48AM

    It appears America has gone to war with everyone in the world. They have lumped Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Egypt all in one breadth and in the same bucket. They just signed a 10 year Agreement in the Night with Afghanistan and it is already unraveling. The have problems with most of the world states: China, Russia, Korea, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. India has never been friendly as they alone have voted against the US in more UN resolutions than any other state. Kyrgyzstan is going to stop access to Manas Air Base and the US Ambassadors in Pakistan and Afghanistan are resigning before their terms were over. Something is seriously wrong with them. But the classic was Karzai’s CNN interview with CNN’s Blitzer. Karzai really gave his mind. He is a brave man and Pakistan leaders should learn from him.

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  • Imran Con
    May 23, 2012 - 9:14AM

    @the Skunk:
    Require? No, you do.
    Deserve? Not quite.

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  • Mirza
    May 23, 2012 - 9:48AM

    @the Skunk:
    You said “We have not benefited from the aid in sixty-five years because it’s foraged away by the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.”
    Gen Ayub, Gen Yehya, Gen Zia, Gen Mush have been in power during more than half of the time. Yet all the aid money is “forged away” by politicians who were in jail half of the time! Never ever in the history of Pakistan an army official has done anything wrong. From atrocities in E. Pakistan, Balochistan, hosting OBL, Kargil, Shamsi Base all is given away by politicians not by any army official and dictator. Just one dictator Mush got $14 billion and he was no friend of any major political leader. I hope we start telling the truth for a change if we want the world to see our pride.
    Regards,
    Mirza

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  • May 23, 2012 - 9:58AM

    Fixed that for you:

    US senate sub-committee votes to tie Swiss Bank money to supply routes.

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  • True Muslim Paki
    May 23, 2012 - 10:26AM

    We should demand Aid from china which has substantial forex reserves instead of US. We helped them a lot in their times of need & it’s repayment time now!

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    May 23, 2012 - 10:32AM

    We Pakistanis are immune to these blackmailing amendments,tie,embargoes,conditions,delays and with this attitude back in USA, American ambassadors in Pakistan and Afghanistan have thrown the towel in ring and shown in-ability to work any more.Big question mark for the American themselves.MIGHT IS NEVER ALWAYS RIGHT.

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  • AFPAK
    May 23, 2012 - 10:36AM

    @the Skunk:

    You smell like skunk when you exclude Pakistani military from your list, which is the main, if not sole, beneficiary of USA aid or grant.

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  • Noble Tufail
    May 23, 2012 - 10:53AM

    aid ??? it is investment stupid …!! you cut it in your best interest.. you release it in your best interest.

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  • Anu
    May 23, 2012 - 11:03AM

    Wahooo… what classic words “ally that won’t be an ally”. What else message is required by our dumb leaders, establishment, bureaucrats, Mullahs?.
    Still living in fantasies that there would be better coming as being NATO Ally.

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  • Not me
    May 23, 2012 - 11:03AM

    Is Pakistan still a Major non NATO ally?

    if yes, both Pakistan and USA should respect and honour this

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  • Sattar
    May 23, 2012 - 11:16AM

    we r to be used abused and then dumped like a lifless body by the USA…we need to standup and clean our house before we can talk to anybody with a straight back…

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  • Shyam
    May 23, 2012 - 11:39AM

    @True Muslim Paki
    We should demand Aid from china which has substantial forex reserves instead of US.

    Be careful what you wish for, China is not a very nice master

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  • Faysal
    May 23, 2012 - 11:42AM

    Thats why US hates democracy in Pakistan. Had it been any General, the routes would never have been closed. I can bet that the US is working covertly to derail democracy again in Pakistan.

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  • ashok sai
    May 23, 2012 - 11:53AM

    “Why keep throwing good money after bad?” asked Leahy.

    Good question, but you should have asked it years before ! Better late than never.

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  • May 23, 2012 - 12:50PM

    every commentator sounds so frustrated and fuming. behaving like a spoiled child.

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  • Arsalan
    May 23, 2012 - 12:51PM

    As long as we have China, it does not matter. We’ll get alms and arms from China – OUR ALL-WEATHER FRIEND !!

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  • SHAHID
    May 23, 2012 - 12:51PM

    Graham is absolutely correct. US needs an ally to whom they give money to, and as such feel very strongly that Pakistan is not an ally. Good. It is a blessing in disguise. No money for Pakistan as it goes into the pockets of our popularly & democratically elected corrupt politicians and fuedal lords. So much for democracy garbage. Actually it is not worth the toilet paper democracy is written on. Anyway, Graham please tell your colleagues not to give money to Pakistan, and do not, repeat, do not ask Pakistan to do your illegal acts in the region as a proxy. Just go home and leave the area to its local people. You Graham and your cronies are a misfit in Afghanistan as you do not look like, behave like, talk like, deal like, lie like and cheat like Afghans. The sooner you go the better for you.

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  • Saqib
    May 23, 2012 - 2:08PM

    @the Skunk:
    None of the politician took that aid. All aid was military aid specifically given to Pak Army. Remember Defence Housing Authorities in Pakistan …. :).

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  • Khan
    May 23, 2012 - 2:12PM

    @BruteForce:

    Great job. Indians have been asking for this for the longest while.

    Isn’t this poking your nose in some one else’s affairs then?
    Its a relationship between USA & Pakistan, US being the sole super power doesn’t need a developing country to listen to .. they are not stupid to be doling out their hard earned money without reasons .. the only thing is we on both side of the border are short sighted while they plan for a very long term.

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  • Khan
    May 23, 2012 - 2:23PM

    @the Skunk:
    You do realize they don’t give most of this money directly to our politicians and majority of it is used via NGOs, who give employment to thousands of people without any nepotism.
    Stopping all sort of aid will leave thousands of people unemployed many of them are sole bread earner for their families.
    They should stop their aid to the Army who carry sole responsibility of destroying this country with their idiotic policies and creating anarchy in the country after making us lose half of our country already.

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  • Saqib
    May 23, 2012 - 2:30PM

    @SHAHID:
    Shahid please repeat your schooling again. You better not have to say anything if you don’t know anything. All American aid was military aid specifically for Pak Army. Thats why America derail democracy every time she wants to do some adventure. Russian war time Zia came. 9/11 Mush came. When Army eat everything they handover crown to politicians so that they now manage country without any money. Same thing happened this time also. Mush and Army eaten all the aid and then handed over to PPP. All politicians are good, believe me on this as i belong to a family of Army personal. How many children of Generals/Berdg you see studying and working in Pakistan?

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  • Concerned
    May 23, 2012 - 2:43PM

    Sad, but it was on the cards since Pakistan had crossed its limit in showing its displeasure on an unfortunate episode beyond permissable diplomatic norms. Being totally dependent on US for both civil and military aid, it would be simply foolhardy to maintain the status quo and inflict more suffering on its masses and security concerns.

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  • Zulfiqar Baig
    May 23, 2012 - 2:50PM

    US Senate panel – please stop aid for Pakistan, we don’t need it.

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  • Ajamal
    May 23, 2012 - 3:01PM

    US – please let go of Pakistan from your doings in Afghanistan. Cut all aid to Pakistan, move all your supplies through northern Afghanistan, seal Af-Pak.

    US war in Afghanistan has badly destroyed life in Pakistan. Not a single Pakistani was remotely involved in 9/11. Who needs an ally like US?

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  • ashvinn
    May 23, 2012 - 3:03PM

    @BruteForce:
    a lot high Qaulity hot Air and Methane in abundant qauntities from their 180 million strong population

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  • Zafar Iqbal
    May 23, 2012 - 3:40PM

    @True Muslim Paki:
    You are not a Pakistani. had you been you would have known that no pakistani likes to be called a paki. Being a PAKI is such a disgrace.

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  • Pungi
    May 23, 2012 - 3:59PM

    Plzz Do us a favour.. Get out of South Asia with all ur aid..

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  • j. von hettlingen
    May 23, 2012 - 4:00PM

    Pakistan is torn between two choices: to be recipient of foregn aid that keeps the country afloat or to stand on its own two feet and reject this charity. The latter is easier said than done.

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  • Hindustan Ki Shakti
    May 23, 2012 - 4:11PM

    @the Skunk:
    I am afraid that Pak economy will plunge once aid will be disconnected. They will be left with no other than nuclear weapons proliferation.If the weapons will be given to terrorists then it will lead to nuclear war and end of the world.
    Or US will snatch the Pakistani nuclear stockpile , the way they attcked and killed OBL.

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  • FactCheck
    May 23, 2012 - 6:21PM

    @syed baqar ahsan:

    Guess you all will find out soon!

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  • Menon
    May 23, 2012 - 6:24PM

    @Not me:

    That was yesterday when Bush was the President and Mushraff was able to fool the fool all the time.

    Today Obama is the President, Mrs. Clinton is the Secretary of State, Petraues is the CIA Director, and Leon Panetta is the Secretary of Defense. Do you see any fools in the list?

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  • Menon
    May 23, 2012 - 6:30PM

    Wasn’t it in yesterday’s news paper that Mrs. Khar stated the trip to Chicago was a resounding success?

    What happened?

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    May 23, 2012 - 7:38PM

    @Shyam:
    aid has already caused aids to us,its time for us to better stand on your feet.

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  • Zalmai
    May 23, 2012 - 8:33PM

    @Shahid

    Spare some of that venom for your own country instead of directing it towards Afghans. You cannot deflect blame on the Afghans for your nation’s shortcomings. Lyndsey Graham is calling Pakistan duplicitous not Afghans or Afghanistan. Pakistan has been swindling the USA for 64 years and it is about time people see Pakistan for what it is.

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  • Saqib
    May 24, 2012 - 2:23PM

    About aid we shouldn’t forget one thing that its india who didn’t give pakistan’s money at the time of partition. Even Gandhi protested in favour of pakistan. From that time onwards pakistan’s economy was under control by USA. Because in order to function pakistan borrowed money from USA and since then we r in a trap. I hope pakistan give these weapons to terrorists so that they can wipe out few cities of india also.

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  • Will
    May 24, 2012 - 10:26PM

    US government has tried multiple times to cease aid to Pakistan but they too realize that without Pakistan’s co-operation they will be doomed in Afghanistan,NDN route and Air bridge is far too expensive for the US economy to tolerate when it is already collapsing.I doubt if it will actually become US law since US has “no” alternative of Pakistan.

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