News / Asia

    US Proposal to Donate MRAPs to Pakistan Exposes Kabul Rift

    FILE - U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stands next to MRAP vehicles after speaking to U.S. troops at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Dec. 8, 2013.
    FILE - U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stands next to MRAP vehicles after speaking to U.S. troops at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, Dec. 8, 2013.
    Ayaz Gul
    The United States is considering donating some of its 1200 mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles known as MRAPs in Afghanistan to neighboring Pakistan after considering the high cost of transporting the vehicles out of the country when the NATO-led combat mission in Afghanistan formally comes to an end in December. However, the proposal has drawn strong opposition from authorities in Kabul, who say all of the equipment should remain in their country.

    The excess equipment, worth billion of dollars, includes the heavily armored MRAPs that American military commanders believe will have limited strategic value after serving in the Afghan mission for over a decade.

    The American commander of international forces in Afghanistan, General Josef Dunford, disclosed details of the proposed plans last week while testifying before U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee.

    “It costs us little less than $10,000 to destroy an MRAP, it costs us somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 to actually move that MRAP," he said. "If we wanted to give it to another country that country would have to accept the MRAPs as is where is. In other words they would have to pay for anything to get that vehicle serviceable again and also to move that vehicle to their country. We are looking at alternatives to provide these vehicles to partners to include Afghanistan, Pakistan and other partners that have participated in operations with us right now.”

    Pakistani defense officials declined to discuss details of their talks with U.S. officials on the subject but say they would like to receive the MRAPs to better protect troops fighting domestic Taliban insurgents.

    Outrage in Afghanistan

    However, the U.S. proposed plans have outraged leaders and lawmakers in Afghanistan. They have accused Washington of violating its strategic partnership agreement with Kabul by offering the military equipment to Islamabad without consulting with the Afghan government.

    Presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi says his country will strongly oppose any move to deliver the military hardware to Pakistan. He says Kabul was expecting coalition forces to leave it for the Afghan security forces.

    Afghan media and some lawmakers have gone on to demand the U.S. immediately suspend any such talks with Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of sponsoring terrorism in their country.

    Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Tasnim Aslam, says Afghan criticism is uncalled for, because of the steep sacrifices that Pakistan has made in fighting terrorism.

    “Over 40,000 of our nationals including members of the security forces have rendered ultimate sacrifice in the fight against terrorism," she noted. "Any attempt to depict Pakistan as other than a victim of terrorism is a travesty and we completely reject it. It is disconcerting that such injurious statements are being made at a time when sincere efforts are under way to turn a new page in the bilateral relations with Afghanistan.”

    The chairman of the Afghan Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Arifullah Pashtun, says that the proposed U.S. plans have upset people in Afghanistan and he has conveyed these concerns to commanders of international forces. He tells VOA that American military officials assured him that while discussions are under way no final decision has been made to give the military equipment to Pakistan.

    The Afghan senator says his country wants the equipment. He acknowledges that the International Security Assistance Force can transfer the military gear to any other country, including Pakistan, but says Afghanistan's needs should be addressed first.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.