Trump's new budget proposes $336mn-aid for Pakistan, but with conditions
US President Donald Trump is walking the talk about his warnings to Pakistan. Earlier, he had suspended $1.15bn security-related aid to Pakistan. He had also warned Pakistan to act decisively against Taliban and Haqqani Network sheltering on its soil. Now, in US's 2019 Budget, Trump has proposed about $336mn of overall assistance to Pakistan. However, this isn't unfettered access. Here's more about it.
What does Trump's budget propose?
Trump's $4tn annual budget proposes $256mn in civilian assistance and $80mn in military aid to Pakistan. Further, it says the military aid (military financing assistance) will be used "to enhance Pakistan's counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency capabilities." However, this depends on Pakistan taking "appropriate action to address areas where US-Pakistan's interests diverge." This aid is a steep drop from the $350mn military aid allotted in 2017.
What does this imply?
This implies that Trump is seriously asking Pakistan to get rid of its safe havens for terrorists. The earlier cut included an expense called Coalition Support Fund. Within this, America pays countries like Pakistan for supporting US-required counter-terrorism operations. Thus, Pakistan was charging US for taking action against the terrorists and used as leverage to extract funds from the latter.
What does the budget propose for Afghanistan?
Further, the budget also promotes Trump's South Asian policy of "a stable and secure" Afghanistan. By requesting for more than $5bn, US supports the Afghan government and security forces fight against Taliban terrorists and jihadist organization like al-Qaeda and ISIS. It also asks for $630mn for civilian assistance in areas of education, health, governance among others for improving the life of Afghan people.
Meanwhile, officials fear cutting US aid puts lives at risk
These cuts have however shaken up former officials. They question the logic of undermining America's position globally by "cutting aid to countries that hate US." They fear that Trump's isolationist policy might actually increase risk to American lives. They also warned against further cuts.