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Monday, July 15, 2013

Pakistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance

Susan B. Epstein
Specialist in Foreign Policy

K. Alan Kronstadt
Specialist in South Asian Affairs

In the post-2001 era, the United States has viewed Pakistan as a key ally, especially in the context of counterterrorism and Afghan and regional stability. Pakistan has been among the leading recipients of U.S. foreign assistance both historically and in recent years, although assistance levels have has fluctuated considerably over the decades of Pakistani independence. In the wake of 9/11, however, aid to Pakistan increased steadily. Since 1948, the United States has pledged more than $30 billion in direct aid, about half for military assistance, and more than two-thirds appropriated in the post-2001 period. Many observers question the gains accrued to date, variously identifying poor planning, lack of both transparency and capacity, corruption, and slow reform by the Pakistani government as major obstacles. Moreover, any goodwill generated by U.S. aid is offset by widespread and intense anti-American sentiment among the Pakistani people.

Developments in 2011 put immense strains on bilateral relations, making uncertain the future direction of the U.S. aid program. Relations have remained tense since that time, although civilian aid has continued to flow and substantive defense transfers are set to resume later in 2013. Disruptions in 2011 included the killing of Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani city and a NATO military raid into Pakistani territory near Afghanistan that inadvertently left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead. The latter development led Islamabad to bar U.S. and NATO access to vital ground lines of communication (GLOCs) linking Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea for a period of more than seven months. More recently, the 113
th Congress is focusing on measures to reduce the federal budget deficit. This backdrop appears to be further influencing debate over assistance levels to a topranking recipient that many say lacks accountability and even credibility as a U.S. ally. For many lawmakers, the core issue remains balancing Pakistan’s strategic importance to the United States—not least its role in Afghan reconciliation efforts—with the pervasive and mutual distrust bedeviling the bilateral relationship.

The 111
th Congress passed the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-73) authorizing the President to provide $1.5 billion in annual nonmilitary aid to Pakistan for five years (FY2010-FY2014) and requiring annual certification for release of security-related aid. Such conditionality is a contentious issue. Congress also established two new funds in 2009, the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund (PCF, within Defense Department appropriations) and the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF, within State-Foreign Operations Appropriations). The 112th Congress enacted further conditions and limitations on assistance. Among these were certification requirements for nearly all FY2012 assistance (in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012—P.L. 112-74) and for FY2013 Coalition Support Funds (CSF, military reimbursements funded out of the Pentagon) and PCF (in the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013—P.L. 112-239). Similar provisions appear in pending FY2014 legislation. In September 2012, the Administration waived FY2012 certification requirements under included national security provisions and, in February 2013, it issued a waiver to allow for the transfer of major defense equipment in FY2013.

The Administration has requested nearly $1.2 billion economic and security aid to Pakistan for FY2014. This represents a steep decline from total FY2012 assistance of about $1.9 billion (excluding CSF). Estimated FY2013 allocations are not yet available. This report will be updated as warranted by events. For broader discussion, see CRS Report R41832, Pakistan-U.S. Relations, by K. Alan Kronstadt. See also CRS Report R42116, Pakistan: U.S. Foreign Aid Conditions, Restrictions, and Reporting Requirements, by Susan B. Epstein and K. Alan Kronstadt.

Date of Report: July 1, 2013
Number of Pages: 51
Order Number: R41856
Price: $29.95

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