The United States has indicated that it would continue its security assistance to Pakistan as it promotes “inter-operability” between the two allies in the war against terrorism.

A week before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s scheduled visit to Washington, the State Department issued a fact sheet on its ties with Pakistan, which highlights cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

“Pakistan has generally cooperated with the United States in counter-terrorism efforts and since 2001, has captured more than 600 Al-Qaeda members and their allies,” says the statement.

The State Department notes that the horrific Dec 2014 Taliban attack on an Army-run school in Peshawar had “a catalytic effect across Pakistan and led to the adoption of a 20-point National Action Plan to counter terrorism.”

US Security Assistance to Pakistan: The department explains that US security assistance to Pakistan is focused on strengthening the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency capabilities of the Pakistan security forces.

The security assistance promotes “closer security ties and inter-operability with the United States and … has directly supported Pakistan’s CT operations in the Fata,” the department adds.

According to the fact sheet, the US has provided $265 million in Foreign Military Financing to Pakistan this year, to develop Pakistan’s long-term security capabilities, particularly in Fata.

It also improves Pakistan’s ability to participate in maritime security operations and counter-maritime piracy. International Military Education and Training assistance to Pakistan enhances the professionalism of Pakistan’s military and strengthens long-term military relationships between Pakistan and the US.

The statement does not mention the period between May 2011 and Sept 2013, when relations between the two countries deteriorated rapidly after Osama bin Laden’s discovery in Abbottabad.

But it does say that in Oct 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry announced “the reinvigoration of a US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue to foster a broader, long-term, and more comprehensive partnership and facilitate concrete cooperation on core shared interests.”

Bilateral Economic Relations: The report points out that the United States is Pakistan’s largest bilateral trading partner. Between July 2014 and June 2015, overseas workers remitted $18.72 billion to Pakistan, 14.4 per cent from the US.

US Civilian Assistance to Pakistan: The department says that the Kerry-Lugar-Berman, passed in Oct 2009, demonstrates the long-term US commitment to cooperation with the Pakistani people and their civilian institutions.

Since the passage of KLB, the US government has committed over $5 billion in civilian assistance to Pakistan, and also over $1 billion in emergency humanitarian assistance for disasters like the 2010 floods.

To date, US contributions have added over 1,600 megawatts to Pakistan’s electricity grid through infrastructure upgrades, rehabilitation, and policy consultation; led to the launch of the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative, which will provide seed funding to small- and medium-sized enterprises in Pakistan; built or reconstructed roughly 1,000 schools; and funded about 1,100 kilometres of roads in Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

www.zoneasia-pk.com

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