In the past few weeks, there have been resolutions and bills passed in both the House and Senate expressing Americans’ frustration with sending military and other aid to Pakistan when that country is being more than difficult. They are not co-operating in rooting out terrorists, they have blocked the land route our supply trucks need to reach our troops in Afghanistan since November, and they arrested and imprisoned the doctor who assisted us in finding Osama bin Laden.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta decided that enough was enough and the American taxpayer and Congress should know exactly what Pakistan is costing us….$100,000,000 per month above what it would have cost us to supply our troops if Pakistan hadn’t closed the access routes, $3,287,311 per day. To date, the closure of that route has cost us over $700,000,000.
In spite of disclosing the cost, when Panetta was asked in a Senate hearing on Wednesday if he would recommend stopping aid to Pakistan, he said, “I’d be very careful about just shutting it down. What I would do is look at conditions for what we expect them to do.” He did not elaborate, but agreed to help write a letter to Congress detailing his ideas on dealing with aid for the Pakistani military and government. This came less than a week after Panetta said, in Kabul, Afghanistan, that the United States is losing patience with Pakistan.
Pakistan closed down the routes to protest a NATO air attack intended for terrorists that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The United States has had to use northern routes including a very dangerous tunnel that is carrying more than ten times the traffic it was built for.
On Monday, it was announced that our negotiators will be withdrawn from Pakistan. Since 2002, Pakistan has received $11.74 billion in military aid and $6.08 billion in economic aid from the United States. They have also received $8.648 billion in cold cash from the Coalition Support Fund which reimburses them for expenses incurred because of our war in Afghanistan, and included the use of two air bases.
The Pakistani government doesn’t understand that Secretary Panetta is not the only one frustrated with Pakistan and the Secretary does not write the checks – our Congress does.