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US Congress Passes Bill Capping Defence Aid To Pakistan At $150 Million From $1.2 Billion

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| August 3 , 2018 , 10:01 IST

In a drastic cut-down, the US Congress has passed a defence spending bill on Thursday capping its security-related aid to Pakistan at $150 million per year, from the nearly $1.2 billion that was provided under the President Barack Obama administration.

The National Defense Authorisation Act-2019 (NDAA-19) was passed by the House of Representatives last week and has now also been passed by the Senate with 87 to 10 votes. The report will now pass on to the White House for approval from US President Donald Trump.

The NDAA-19 removes conditions like action against Haqqani Network or the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as was earlier required for disbursement of US aid to Pakistan.

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"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," said Anish Goel, who was part of Barack Obama's White House National Security Council, to news agency PTI.

"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 said.

Under the previous Obama administration, Pakistan would receive nearly $1.2 billion aid from the US under the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009  also known as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act.

US President Donald Trump since assuming office has increased pressure on Pakistan over its inaction against terror groups and has suspended more than $1.15 billion security assistance to Pakistan already.

In a strongly worded tweet on January 1 this year, Trump said, "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!"