News / Asia

As Ties Warm, US Restarts Security Assistance to Pakistan

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad August 1, 2013.FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad August 1, 2013.
x
FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad August 1, 2013.
FILE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) shakes hands with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad August 1, 2013.
Reuters
The United States has quietly restarted security assistance to Pakistan, U.S. officials said on Sunday, after freezing much of that aid during a period of
strained relations beginning with the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.

While the move to free up the aid has been underway for some months, it became public as President Barack Obama prepares for a White House meeting on Wednesday with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Relations between the two countries remain tense on major issues, including Pakistani opposition to U.S. drone strikes and Washington's complaints about the ties of the Pakistani intelligence service to militant groups active in Afghanistan.

But the bonds appear to be on the mend after a series of major setbacks in recent years, including the bin Laden raid, a NATO air strike that mistakenly killed Pakistani border guards and a January 2011 incident in which a CIA contractor killed two men on the streets of Lahore, Pakistan.

Sharif is scheduled to meet with members of the U.S. Congress in Washington this week and aid will be one of the main issues, a congressional staff member said.

The deterioration had led to freezing of some funding and to the U.S. Congress enacting additional restrictions on aid to Islamabad.

"As part of our annual funding process, throughout the course of this past summer the State Department notified Congress of how it planned to program funds from several different accounts for various programs in Pakistan," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

"While this is part of a long process of restarting security assistance cooperation after implementation was slowed during the bilateral challenges of 2011 and 2012, civilian assistance has continued uninterrupted throughout," Harf said in an email.

The Associated Press first reported on Saturday that the United States was releasing $1.6 billion in military and economic assistance to Pakistan that previously had been appropriated.

Congressional aides said on Sunday the assistance had been restarted over the past few months.

For fiscal year 2014, which began on October 1, Obama has requested $1.162 billion for Pakistan, including $857 million in civilian assistance and $305 million in security assistance, Harf said.

Much of U.S. security aid to Pakistan is intended to bolster the ability of its military to counter militants in the country's semi-autonomous tribal areas.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More