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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid