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'Pak diverted US aid into nuke programme'

June 29, 2009 20:00 IST

Pakistan diverted a whopping sum of over $5 billion provided as aid by the US to fight Taliban militants into its nuclear programme, a report has said.

The report by security expert Andrew Cockburn also says that the US ignored disgraced nuclear scientist A Q Khan's proliferation activities in the 1990s.

'Most of the aid we have sent them over the past few years has been diverted into their nuclear programme,' the report published in Counter Punch quoted a senior national security official in the Obama administration as saying.

Most of this 'diverted aid' -- $5.56 billion as of a year ago - was officially designated 'Coalition Support Funds' for Pakistani military operations against the Taliban. It said that the US has allowed Pakistan's nuclear programme to continue in violation of its policy of non-proliferation, as it needed its help in defeating the Soviets in Afghanistan, among other things, and even the Obama administration has not changed this policy.

The author said: 'During the years Dr A Q Khan was peddling his uranium enrichment technology around the place, his shipping manager was a CIA agent, whose masters seem to have had little problem with allowing trade to go forward.'

Money has routinely been handed over essentially without accounting being required from the Pakistanis, the report said. 'The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has huffed at items such as the $30 million shelled out for non-existent roads, of the $1.5 million for naval vehicles damaged in combat but that was as far as public complaints went,' the report said.

Andrew Cockburn is a security analyst, who has written several books on security issues.

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