Shift Aid to Pakistan from Conventional Military Accounts to Counterterrorism and Democracy Promotion
Part of a Series
The bulk of U.S. aid to Pakistan has gone to military expenditures. The United States should steer military aid away from conventional military expenditures such as advanced combat aircraft, which is geared toward a possible confrontation with India, and toward counterterrorism assistance. Benefits for Pakistan must be paired with firm demands that Pakistan support the United States by cracking down on militants and Al Qaeda and making democratic reforms.
Following the attacks of Sept. 11 and President Musharraf’s public declaration that he would ally with the United States in fighting terrorism, the U.S. government has given at least $10 billion to the Pakistani government, primarily in military assistance. In return, the United States has expected Pakistan to cooperate on counterterrorism and the war in Afghanistan, but little else.
The United States has funneled its support almost exclusively to the Pakistani army, with little attention paid to Pakistan’s civil society or moderate political forces. The U.S. government has done little to nothing to support existing democratic forces in Pakistan despite the Pakistani population’s outpouring for democracy, as seen by the protests at the Chief Justice’s suspension, and the Bush administration’s democracy promotion agenda.
The U.S. government’s silence on democracy promotion in Pakistan further undermines U.S. credibility among the Pakistani people and support for U.S. objectives in the region. Moreover, many believe that some of this military aid is finding its way back to the Taliban because of linkages between the group and Pakistan’s security forces.
For more information on the Center for American Progress’ comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan, which includes a chapter on recommendations for Pakistan, see:
- The Forgotten Front, by Caroine Wadhams and Lawrence J. Korb