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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid