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Pentagon ramps up direct military aid to Pakistan

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posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 02:47 PM

* Pentagon speeds funds to overhaul Pakistani helicopters

* Plans for more trainers faces resistance from Islamabad

By Adam Entous

WASHINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - The Pentagon is ramping up delivery of military equipment long sought by the Pakistani army to fight militants, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Some $200 million worth of equipment and services already in the pipeline for Pakistan has started to arrive but officials declined to provide full details, saying many of the more sophisticated items were classified.

Some programs have run into resistance from Islamabad, which is wary of appearing too close to Washington, they said.

The U.S. military aid is meant to help Pakistan mount a long-awaited ground offensive against Taliban fighters in their South Waziristan stronghold along the border with Afghanistan, where U.S. and NATO forces are fighting a growing insurgency.

Hit by string of brazen militant attacks in the past 11 days that have killed about 150 people, Islamabad says a ground offensive by its troops is imminent.

"Each one of these attacks is troublesome," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. "But the Pakistan government remains committed to addressing the threat there."

Direct military aid from the Pentagon, officials said, would come on top of the equipment that Pakistan receives through normal foreign military sales overseen by the State Department. Officials say those sales vary year to year but generally total around $300 million annually.

U.S. government aid is a highly contentious issue in Pakistan, where anti-American sentiment runs high, and Islamabad has thrown up obstacles to some of the Pentagon's proposals, including one to expand counter-insurgency training for the Frontier Corps paramilitary force, officials said.


Underscoring those sensitivities, when President Barack Obama signed legislation this week giving $7.5 billion in nonmilitary aid to Pakistan over five years, he did so behind closed doors after Pakistani critics said provisions in the law violated the country's sovereignty.

While pointing to growing military-to-military cooperation to counter the threat militants pose to the nuclear-armed state, U.S. officials say many of Pakistan's top commanders remain focused on expanding conventional capabilities to counter long-time foe India.

"It is frustrating," one official said. "We want to do more."

A special counterinsurgency fund approved by Congress earlier this year gave the Pentagon the authorization to speed delivery of military equipment to the Pakistani army.

Pentagon officials say equipment provided under the program can be delivered quickly because it bypasses normal "peacetime" rules governing foreign military sales that can take three to five years to process.

Congressional aides say the $200 million worth of equipment and services in the pipeline can arrive more quickly, in as little as 60-90 days, because much of it is not sophisticated and comes from readily available supplies.

In contrast, the delivery of F-16 fighter jets has been held up for years because it depends on production line schedules.

Another $200 million worth of equipment for fiscal year 2009, which ended on Sept. 30, remains available for Pakistan, and the Pentagon plans to nearly double the amount of direct military aid for fiscal 2010 to $700 million, officials said.

Shipments in recent months have included hundreds of night vision goggles, day and night scopes for rifles and radios to improve communications, as well as thousands of bullet-proof vests. Officials said armor-plated all-terrain vehicles were a priority item.


Pakistan has requested precision-guided weapons as well as pilotless "drone" aircraft, whose increasing use by the CIA to attack Taliban and al Qaeda targets in Pakistani tribal areas has fanned anti-American sentiment.

Pentagon officials refused to release the list of the items authorized for Pakistan or to comment on the drone request. But many U.S. lawmakers are skeptical of Pakistan's intentions and transferring drone technology would face Indian resistance.

Officials said a portion of the $200 million currently in the pipeline was already being used to overhaul Pakistan's fleet of Mi-17 helicopters, critical for the planned operation in the mountainous Waziristan region.

Officials acknowledge getting the Mi-17s to Pakistan has been a difficult and time-consuming process. They are in short supply and the ones Pakistan has now have been heavily used in other operations and poorly maintained, the officials said.

To free up just 10 of the helicopters requested by Pakistan in June and July, the Pentagon had to "borrow" two from a training program for the Afghan military, sources said.

"We are doing everything within our power to assist Pakistan in improving its counter-insurgency capabilities," Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Mark Wright said.

He said the counterinsurgency fund "put military assistance to Pakistan on a wartime footing," much like the way the United States supplies the security forces of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obviously for this war: Pakistan prepares for South Waziristan offensive against Taliban

Pakistan's armed forces are preparing to launch an all-out offensive against the Taliban's tribal stronghold in South Waziristan after almost 170 people were killed in terror attacks in the country in just 11 days.

Is this the end-game scenario for the taliban? More US troops going to Afghanistan soon, so where will the taliban run and hide to now that Pakistan are going to cut 'em off!

Surely if Bin Laden is still alive he knows it's game over! Or will this cause Pakistan to collapse with insecure nukes, and more 9/11 terror attacks. Seems to be all happening around the same time - Israel expected to hit Iran, middle east peace process dead, Hezbollah expected to unleash hell on Israel at any time, and the Ukranian election in Jan (Russia unhappy about NATO expansion) and Russia changing it's nuclear policies to first-strike capabilities, the Chinese just about declaring it will back Iran and expand it's trade with the Iranian govt and sees them as an ally. Oh and somewhere N.Korea and Venezuela will probably be added to that mix, along with Georgia being accused by Russia of aiding Al-Queda in Russia.

Should have called this thread - the "doom thread!"

Time for the US to expand military aid to certain countries and hope for the best seems to be the tactic at use!

[edit on 16-10-2009 by john124]

posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 03:03 PM
Video: China forges links with Iran

Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, has made it clear he does not agree with Western demands for sanctions over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme, insisting he will maintain "close co-operation" with Iran.

Oil exports account for nearly half of Iran's revenues - being cut off from the West means most is exported to Asian countries – and a big percentage of that to China.

In return China is investing billions in Iran's gas and oil fields.

And as Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri reports from Tehran, the Iranian capital, their trade links are becoming stronger.

posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 03:19 PM
I hope the seniors in the US that are under SS read this because next year the government is not going to pay them for cost of living increases.

I tell you keep taking away from the nations needs to give away on bribes, just fantastic.

But don't worry Obama is going to give some penny away for the seniors to keep their mouth shut

posted on Oct, 16 2009 @ 03:21 PM
reply to post by john124

that is OK I heard Obama is going to give China half of America to keep them in our side.

Just joking.

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 09:51 AM
reply to post by john124

As I recall Reagan gave Saddam H. military aid during his administration.

That worked out well!!

The US leaves something to be desired when planning geopolitically.
The think tanks that come up with these hair brained schemes need more
than just military on staff. A few ethnologist would be beneficial or someone that actually understands the cultural, religious and sociological makeup of the countries that we are so willing to give military aid to.

[edit on 17-10-2009 by whaaa]

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 05:58 PM

Originally posted by marg6043
reply to post by john124

that is OK I heard Obama is going to give China half of America to keep them in our side.

Just joking.

China can afford to buy what ever they want in America; and they are...
almost every damn day I see Hummers filled with China guy's scoping out the more expensive properties in my village. Investments.....

posted on Oct, 17 2009 @ 08:17 PM
reply to post by whaaa

Tell me about it, everything is for sale in America now to become the dream of everybody else but the American people.

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