The US Congress on Wednesday passed the National Defense Authorisation Act-2019 (NDAA-19) restricting security aid to Pakistan to USD 150 million, well below than the historic level of more than USD one billion to USD 750 million per year.
The NDAA-2019 was passed by the Senate by 87 to 10 votes. Earlier last week, the House of Representatives had passed the conference report. The act now needs President Donald Trump’s approval.
However, in this year's Defence Act, the US had removed certain conditions like action against Haqqani network or Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) for disbursement of the full aid. For the past few years, the US had put these conditions on Pakistan.
“The legislation reduces the total amount of funds provided for reimbursement to Pakistan to USD 150 million. This is a significant reduction from the USD 700 million that was authorised through Coalition Support Fund (CSF) last year,” PTI quoted Anish Goel, who was part of Barack Obama’s White House National Security Council, as saying.
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With the reduction in aid, the Pentagon will no longer have any tools to pressurise Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani Network or to carry out counter-terrorism operations in the country.
“Hence, the Pentagon no longer has any tools to put pressure on Pakistan to undertake counter-terrorism activities or action against the Haqqani Network,” Goel, who till recently was a senior staffer in the Senate Armed Services Committee, said.
Joshua White, a member of former US president Barack Obama's White House National Security Council team, termed the legiuslation a mixed blessing for Pakistan.
"This year’s defense legislation significantly reduces the amount of security assistance that Pakistan can theoretically receive outside of traditional Foreign Military Financing. This legislation is a mixed blessing for Pakistan,” White said.
“On one hand, these new border security funds will be capped at USD 150 million per year, significantly below historical levels of Coalition Support Funds (CSF). On the other hand, the legislation does away with the onerous reporting requirements and certifications that have, in practice, made it difficult for Pakistan to receive such funds,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)