WASHINGTON: The United States and Pakistan have been sparring over Islamabad's claims for financial compensation for military operations against militants, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The report comes as relations between the two anti-terror allies have frayed following the killing of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in a US commando operation launched without Islamabad's knowledge.
The newspaper, citing internal Pentagon documents, said Washington has quietly rejected more than 40 per cent of over $3.2 billion in claims submitted by Pakistan for military gear, food, water, troop housing and other expenses.
The claims in question were filed from January 2009 through June 2010.
Citing the documents and US officials, the Journal said Pakistan had submitted dubious claims or sought funding for actions that Washington did not see as related to the so-called War on Terror.
In one case, the Pakistani army sought $50 million for "hygiene and chemical expenses," of which Washington agreed to pay just $8 million, the Journal said.
In another case, the United States paid millions to refurbish four helicopters to help Pakistan transport troops to the rugged mountains along the Afghanistan border where it is battling Taliban and al Qaeda militants.
But Pakistan diverted three of the aircraft to peacekeeping duties in Sudan, operations funded by the United Nations, the Journal said, citing US officials.
The newspaper said US denial rates have climbed from a low of 1.6 per cent in 2005 to 38 per cent in 2008 and 44 per cent in 2009.
Pakistani officials deny they are trying to bilk the United States and insist that the increased US scrutiny has offended Islamabad, the Journal said.
"People have to give a receipt for every cup of tea they drink or every kilometer they drive," it quoted a Pakistani official as saying.
Cash-strapped Pakistan has relied on $18 billion from the United States since the September 11, 2001 attacks, when Pakistan officially ended support for Afghanistan's Taliban and agreed to work with Washington.
In 2009, Congress also authorised $7.5 billion to help bolster the weak civilian government by building schools, roads and democratic institutions.
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