Sunday, November 18, 2007

We Want A Pony Too

LATimes (11.18.07):
"With the Pakistani government in turmoil, senior Pentagon officials are quietly moving to overhaul the system of massive U.S. military aid to the country by more directly tying the payments to Islamabad's success in combating Islamic militants.

Defense Department officials also want to require detailed accounting of how Pakistan spends about $1 billion in annual payments and greater control by Washington over spending."

U.S. aims to reshape Pakistan aid

The military wants to know "'exactly where [the money] goes' and 'have more say' in Pakistan's use of aid, said a senior military official directly involved in the program. For all the cooperation we're gonna see here, we might as well ask for a pony too.

An effort to encourage more accountability "began in earnest last year when officials from the Pentagon's comptroller's office made three trips to Islamabad for meetings with Pakistani finance officials."

"In the meetings, each of which lasted several days, U.S. officials tried to get Pakistan to detail how Coalition Support Funds money had been spent. Afterward, Pakistani officials visited the Pentagon for similar talks."

How'd it go? "The efforts fell short, however, as Pakistan resisted U.S. pressure to become more open. The Pakistanis chafed at demands to begin complying with more stringent accounting requirements than those already in use, the senior Defense official said."

Not that there'd ever be any reason for doubt or anything.



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