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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    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 Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    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 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 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.