The Obama administration recently announced that it would withhold more than one-third of all military assistance to Pakistan – an aid envelope worth some $800m (£498m) – including $300 million in military reimbursements for conducting military operations in the Tribal Areas.
The aid package was withheld because US defense authorities were not able to certify that Pakistan had taken specific action against the Haqqani network, a splinter group of the Afghan Taliban long believed to be operating against the neighboring government from Pakistani soil. In 2014, the US Senate made portions of military aid to Pakistan contingent on the country taking actions against the Haqqanis.
This was not the first time money was withheld from Pakistan in the long political history of US aid to the country. Here are the details on US military aid and economic assistance (including development assistance) to Pakistan between 1948 and 2010, as compiled by the Guardian.
US aid to Pakistan, 1948-2010
- US economic assistance to Pakistan peaked in 1962, at over $2.3bn
- In 2010, military assistance to Pakistan totalled $2.5bn – including $1.2bn in coalition support funds
- US assistance to Pakistan reached its lowest level in the 1990s, after President George H.W. Bush suspended aid flows over Pakistan’s emerging nuclear programme
- US military assistance dropped dramatically during and immediately after the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971
- In the 1970s, President Carter suspended all aid to Pakistan (except food aid) in response to Pakistan’s decision to construct a uranium enrichment facility
- Although US assistance (both economic and military) to Pakistan has fluctuated considerably over the last 60 years, it has risen steadily since 2001
Pakistan has historically been among the top recipients of US aid – since 1948, the US has sent more than £30bn in direct aid to the country. Nearly half of this has been for military assistance. However, since Osama bin Laden was discovered and killed in Abbottabad earlier this year, US president Barack Obama has come under increasing pressure to justify US aid spending in the country.
Although military assistance is currently the only form of US aid being withheld from Pakistan, Congress has considered other – as yet unsuccessful – bills to block US economic assistance and civilian aid to Pakistan. These options may be up for debate next year as ties between the two allies have hit a low point this year.