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Pak can use US aid only against terror groups: Senate

July 25, 2009 01:23 IST
The United States Senate has approved the Department of Defence Authorization bill according to which the US military assistance to Pakistan can be used only for its fight against the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

The bi-partisan amendment in this regard was introduced by Senators Robert Menendez and Bob Corker, amidst growing apprehension among lawmakers that the American tax payers money given to Pakistan to fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda was being used to built up its army against India.

The Menendez-Corker legislative language would mandate a certification by the US Secretary of State and Secretary of Defence, before Pakistan is reimbursed with Coalition Support Funds, that the payment is both in the national security interests of the US, and will not affect the balance of power in the region.

"To this point, almost eight years and more than seven billion in American taxpayer dollars for Pakistan's military have not prevented the Taliban and Al-Qaeda from regrouping along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border," said Menendez.

"The fight against these extremists is crucial for our own security, which is why we have to certify that our support is in fact doing what we intend it to do and is not being used for other purposes. This is an issue of national security and of responsibility with taxpayer dollars, and it is important that passed the Senate," Menendez said.

"We appreciate the important role Pakistan has played in our fight to eliminate the terrorist safe havens within their borders, but we also owe it to our service members and the American taxpayer to ensure that the funds provided to Pakistan out of the Coalition Support Funds are in fact being directed toward those efforts and not misdirected," said Corker.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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