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Who Benefits from U.S. Aid to Pakistan?

Who Benefits from U.S. Aid to Pakistan?

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fter 9/11 and again following the killing of Osama bin Laden, questions have been raised about the purpose of aid from the United States to Pakistan. If aid was primarily meant for military and counterterrorism support, the results from an American perspective have been inadequate at best. Washington has accused the Pakistani government and military of duplicity, and of protecting key militant leaders living within Pakistan. The United States continues to ask the government of Pakistan to “do more.”

There are Pakistani voices, however, who argue that this is America’s war, not a global or Pakistani war. The fighting has cost Pakistan three times as much as the aid provided and 35,000 victims. Sympathizers of militant groups in Pakistan’s army have also been found to protect insurgents and have been involved in terrorist activities themselves.

Clearly, trust is low.

The lack of trust didn’t start following 9/11—Pakistan’s aid relationship with the United States has a tortured history. In the 1950s and 1960s, U.S. aid stimulated growth for Pakistan and did not focus excessively on military assistance to the detriment of development programs. Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, problems emerged that haunt the aid relationship to this day. American efforts against the Soviets unintentionally strengthened Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies, their supremacy over civilian institutions, and rising jihadism that would grow to engulf both the country and the region.

Then after 9/11, the spigot of aid nominally meant to help the fight against terrorism instead supported the military acquisitions of the Pakistani army and only modest progress in counterterrorism operations. With military aid much higher than economic aid, U.S. assistance has strengthened the hand of Pakistan’s military in the country’s political economy and failed to support the civilian government and democratic institutions.

But changes in the U.S. and Pakistani administrations in 2008 shifted aid toward development. Perhaps a longer-term engagement and commitment to civilian and development aid might result in strengthening democracy in Pakistan instead of reinforcing the military dominance that thwarts U.S. counterterrorism goals. This shift can illuminate how American aid to Pakistan can address both U.S. and Pakistani objectives and concerns.
fter 9/11 and again following the killing of Osama bin Laden, questions have been raised about the purpose of aid from the United States to Pakistan. If aid was primarily meant for military and counterterrorism support, the results from an American perspective have been inadequate at best. Washington has accused the Pakistani government and military of duplicity, and of protecting key militant leaders living within Pakistan. The United States continues to ask the government of Pakistan to “do more.”

There are Pakistani voices, however, who argue that this is America’s war, not a global or Pakistani war. The fighting has cost Pakistan three times as much as the aid provided and 35,000 victims. Sympathizers of militant groups in Pakistan’s army have also been found to protect insurgents and have been involved in terrorist activities themselves.

Clearly, trust is low.

The lack of trust didn’t start following 9/11—Pakistan’s aid relationship with the United States has a tortured history. In the 1950s and 1960s, U.S. aid stimulated growth for Pakistan and did not focus excessively on military assistance to the detriment of development programs. Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, problems emerged that haunt the aid relationship to this day. American efforts against the Soviets unintentionally strengthened Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies, their supremacy over civilian institutions, and rising jihadism that would grow to engulf both the country and the region.

Then after 9/11, the spigot of aid nominally meant to help the fight against terrorism instead supported the military acquisitions of the Pakistani army and only modest progress in counterterrorism operations. With military aid much higher than economic aid, U.S. assistance has strengthened the hand of Pakistan’s military in the country’s political economy and failed to support the civilian government and democratic institutions.

But changes in the U.S. and Pakistani administrations in 2008 shifted aid toward development. Perhaps a longer-term engagement and commitment to civilian and development aid might result in strengthening democracy in Pakistan instead of reinforcing the military dominance that thwarts U.S. counterterrorism goals. This shift can illuminate how American aid to Pakistan can address both U.S. and Pakistani objectives and concerns.

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Published by: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Oct 31, 2011
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Who Benets FromU.S. Aid to Pakistan?
September 21, 2011
S. Akbar Zaidi
Summary
 After 9/11 and again following the killing of Osama bin Laden, questions have been raisedabout the purpose of aid from the United States to Pakistan. If aid was primarily meant formilitary and counterterrorism support, the results from an American perspective have beeninadequate at best. Washington has accused the Pakistani government and military of duplicity,and of protecting key militant leaders living within Pakistan. The United States continues toask the government of Pakistan to “do more.” There are Pakistani voices, however, who argue that this is America’s war, not a global orPakistani war. The ghting has cost Pakistan three times as much as the aid provided and35,000 victims. Sympathizers of militant groups in Pakistan’s army have also been found toprotect insurgents and have been involved in terrorist activities themselves.Clearly, trust is low. The lack of trust didn’t start following 9/11—Pakistan’s aid relationship with the United Stateshas a tortured history. In the 1950s and 1960s, U.S. aid stimulated growth for Pakistan anddid not focus excessively on military assistance to the detriment of development programs.Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, problems emerged that haunt the aidrelationship to this day. American efforts against the Soviets unintentionally strengthenedPakistan’s military and intelligence agencies, their supremacy over civilian institutions, andrising jihadism that would grow to engulf both the country and the region. Then after 9/11, the spigot of aid nominally meant to help the ght against terrorism insteadsupported the military acquisitions of the Pakistani army and only modest progress incounterterrorism operations. With military aid much higher than economic aid, U.S. assistance
 
2
It has become increasingly clear since the killing of Osama bin Laden thatU.S. government aid to Pakistan is plagued by a complexity that belies claimsof a strategic partnership. Bilateral assistance ordinarily should be a win-winproposition for both countries, in this case with the United States helping Pakistan to address American security concerns, and Pakistan receiving much-needed funding to serve its population, meet perennial and ever-increasing revenue shortfalls, and help modernize its military forces. In reality, the aidrelationship between the United States and Pakistan has been muddled, deceptive,complicated, and even dangerous, especially since the events of September 11,2001. The barrage of writing and analysis that has appeared since the killing of bin Laden in Pakistan has underscored this point, with such words as “duplicity”and “double game” being used extensively by U.S. analysts and policymakers alike.It would be in the interest of the United States to ensure a stable Pakistan, with aliberal, democratic government focused on development. One could reasonably expect that the civilian government of Pakistan has similar objectives. However,the relationship has been so fraught with cross-purposes and doublespeak thatthe real purpose of U.S. aid to Pakistan in the post-9/11 era is no longer clear— from either country’s perspective. Of course, the United States wants Pakistanto prosecute the war on terrorism and help defeat al-Qaeda and the Talibaninsurgency in Afghanistan as well as in Pakistan. It also wants to help Pakistandevelop into a stable, democratic state at peace with itself and its neighbors. Butuntil recently the primary recipient of U.S. aid in Pakistan was the military andits Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI). U.S. cooperation, therefore, hasstrengthened the very actors—the Pakistani security establishment—that haveserved the interests of neither Pakistan nor the United States. It is time thatpolicymakers in both countries rethink how this relationship should proceed.has strengthened the hand of Pakistan’s military in the country’s political economy and failed tosupport the civilian government and democratic institutions.But changes in the U.S. and Pakistani administrations in 2008 shifted aid toward development.Perhaps a longer-term engagement and commitment to civilian and development aid mightresult in strengthening democracy in Pakistan instead of reinforcing the military dominance thatthwarts U.S. counterterrorism goals. This shift can illuminate how American aid to Pakistan canaddress both U.S. and Pakistani objectives and concerns.
It would be inthe interestof the UnitedStates toensure a stablePakistan,with a liberal,democraticgovernmentfocused ondevelopment.
 
3
Five Decades of Aid to Pakistan, 1950‒2001
From Independence to the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
It is not much of an exaggeration to state that since independence in 1947,Pakistan has been an aid-dependent nation. Some estimates suggest that the grossdisbursement of overseas development assistance to Pakistan from 1960 to 2002(in 2001 prices) was $73.1 billion, from both bilateral and multilateral sources.
1
  Almost 30 percent of this ofcial development assistance came in the form of bilateral aid from the United States, the largest single bilateral donor by far.
2
 Assistance of this magnitude was made possible by the fact that Pakistan’sleadership, especially its military leadership, clearly aligned itself with the UnitedStates during the Cold War. By joining SEATO (the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) and CENTO (the Central Treaty Organization) and signing military and other pacts of cooperation with the United States in the 1950sand 1960s, Pakistan hoped to benet from U.S. geopolitical support as well asnancial and military assistance. The United States, in turn, viewed Pakistan asan ally and a hedge against perceived Soviet expansionism in the region. American aid to Pakistan was vital during the 1960s. It helped play a signicantpart in numerous development projects, food support, and humanitarianassistance through the United States Agency for International Development(USAID) and other mechanisms.
3
Thanks to this assistance, the United States was well-received by the people of Pakistan. By 1964, overall aid and assistanceto Pakistan was around 5 percent of its GDP and was arguably critical inspurring Pakistani industrialization and development, with GDP growth ratesrising to as much as 7 percent per annum.
4
Though the United States decided tocut off most aid to Pakistan when Pakistan initiated the 1965 war with India overKashmir, aid resumed after a few years, albeit at much lower levels.Not only was aid vital in the 1960s, but it also was focused on civilian economicassistance. After a brief spike in the late 1950s, American military assistance andreimbursements in the 1960s were consistently below the total aid provided by USAID’s predecessors and total economic assistance provided to Pakistan inthose years.
5
This balance may have contributed to the positive impact U.S. aidhad until its termination after the second Kashmir war.
From the Soviet Invasion to 9/11
 The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 again precipitated increased U.S.development and military assistance as Pakistan became a frontline state in the

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