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U.S. clears reimbursement fund for Pakistan for ‘anti-terrorism efforts’

Lahore: The United States Senate Armed Services Committee approved a proposal to set up a new fund to reimburse Pakistan for its efforts in the war against terror, which also delinks the country from Afghanistan.

According to Dawn, the committee’s chairman, Senator John McCain, introduced the bill, which sets aside up to $800 million for reimbursing Pakistan and the proposal is included in the Senate version of the National Defence Authorisation Act, 2017, passed on May 18.

The current arrangement reimburses Pakistan from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) and has received a total of $3.1 billion since 2013. The CSF expires in the 2016 financial year, which ends in October.

The bill, however, requires Pakistan to keep open ground communication lines to Afghanistan for receiving reimbursements from this fund and $300m is linked to taking action against the Haqqani network.

The new provision focuses on Pakistan and on US national security interests and in doing so, it breaks the link between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

During a debate in the committee, lawmakers noted that the U.S. has already withdrawn most of its troops from Afghanistan and the U.S.-led coalition is also winding up its activities.

While considering the proposal, the committee noted that “Pakistan has been a long-standing strategic partner of the United States” and expressed its desire to continue a “strong and enduring” relationship between the two countries.

The committee also expressed the concern that “continued reliance on Coalition Support Funds for the provision of security assistance to Pakistan could negatively impact US support of Pakistani operations to combat terrorism”. (ANI)