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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora