Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

US plans Pakistan military aid deal

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the Obama administration will ask Congress for the money
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the Obama administration will ask Congress for the money

The United States has laid out a five-year, $2 billion (£1.28 billion) military aid package for Pakistan as it presses the Islamabad government to step up the fight against extremists there and in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has announced the plan at the end of the latest round US-Pakistani strategic talks.

The Obama administration will ask Congress for $2 billion for Pakistan to purchase US-made arms, ammunition and accessories from 2012 to 2016, said Mrs Clinton.

The new military aid replaces a similar but less valuable package which began in 2005 and expired on October 1.

It will complement $7.5 billion (£4.78 billion) in civilian assistance the administration has already committed to Pakistan over five years, some of which has been diverted to help the country deal with devastating floods.

The US hopes the announcement, made by Clinton with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at her side, will reassure Pakistan of the long-term US commitment to Pakistan's military needs.

The aid also should help Pakistan bolster its efforts to go after Taliban and al Qaida affiliates on its territory.

Although the exact terms of the deal are still being negotiated, the goal is to ramp up US military aid to Pakistan incrementally over the five-year period.

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