So Where Does That Pakistan Aid Go, Exactly? « The Washington Independent
With Amb. Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, publicly floating the idea of increasing aid to Pakistan on top of the $7.5 billion five-year aid bill passed this year, it’s worth asking how the current aid gets doled out. And for an answer we turn to Josh Rogin of The Cable, who got a hold of a long-delayed breakdown for Congress of the so-called Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill. Here’s what Josh reports:
The biggest chunk of the funds, $3.5 billion spread over five years, will go to “high impact, high visibility infrastructure programs,” according to the report, focusing on the energy and agricultural sectors — “programs that Pakistani citizens can see.”
Another $2 billion will be directed to “focused humanitarian and social services,” which includes extending the reach of the Pakistani government to areas where extremists now operate. Of that pot, $500 million will be earmarked for immediate post-crisis and humanitarian assistance, with the rest going to improving the quality and access to health and education.
The remaining $2 billion will go to building up the Pakistani government both at the national and local levels. The money will be split between funding actual government entities and improving the security and legal infrastructure overall.
As Josh puts it, this is much broader than immediate-impact projects. It looks a lot more like the “broadening” of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship that Holbrooke discussed at the Council on Foreign Relations. And it was greeted with a resounding thud in the Pakistani press.
The Obama administration’s emerging contention is that a year’s worth of public pressure on the Pakistanis to take Action X in Region Y against Terrorist Organization Z is just counterproductive. Pakistan needs some assurance of long-term U.S. assistance on the diplomatic, economic and security concerns it has before it can turn its attention to the security concerns the U.S. has. Perhaps. But Congress considers Pakistan to be a pretty obstinate — if not intransigent — ally, and it may not approve another funding request unless it gets some kind of assurance that Pakistan is going to move on U.S. priorities.