US anti-terror aid for Pakistan cut by $50m

29 01 2009

Source: Daily Times, India Today

LAHORE: The United States has paid Pakistan $100 million for its frontline-state role in the war on terror, against an originally planned amount of $150 million, a private TV channel reported on Monday. Talking to the media in a ceremony of Pakistan Microfinance Network in Islamabad, Finance Adviser Shaukat Tareen said the reason for the reduced funding was a new payment system in the US. He said the government was in contact with the US administration and was expecting to receive a positive response in this regard, the channel said. –daily times monitor.

The US has deducted $55 million out of the $156 million bill set by Pakistan for rendering its military services to fight against Taliban and Al Qaeda in volatile bordering tribal areas adjacent to war-torn Afghanistan.

Shaukat Tarin, a financial advisor in the prime minister’s office, said the US had “changed the format” for money released under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for Islamabad, resulting in a “massive” deduction.

Pakistan, a key US ally in the fight against terrorism, has mobilised its more than 100,000 troops in tribal areas to contain Islamic militants launching cross-border attacks on international forces in Afghanistan, and bills US for the expenditure.

The cut in its reimbursements is a setback to the civilian government led by President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto.

Tarin said Islamabad had taken the matter of the deducted money with Washington.

Pakistan joined the US-led international alliance against terrorism after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, with Islamabad getting some $297 million every year since 2003, in the form of Foreign Military Grants to quell the Taliban militancy.

But the authorities in Washington have said repeatedly that Islamabad was not doing enough to control Islamic insurgency in its ungoverned tribal region.

The new US government, led by President Barack Obama, has vowed to focus more on Pakistan in its policy to defeat Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. In its efforts, the new administration would link Pakistan’s aid with the security in the border region in Afghanistan, the White House said in a policy statement last week.

Pakistan, which has recently avoided default by obtaining a $7.6 billion loan package from the IMF, is relying heavily on US to revive its economy.

The US has so far provided between $10 and $11 billion of aid for social development as well as in form of military aid. But Pakistan says it has suffered financial losses many times more than it has collectively received aid from American and its western allies after becoming front line state in the ongoing war against terrorism.





USAID projects in FATA (Pakistan) shelved over security

29 01 2009

Source: Daily Times Monitor

LAHORE: Around 25 projects operated by USAID in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and settled areas of the NWFP have been temporarily closed over security concerns, a private TV channel quoted its sources on Wednesday.

According to the channel, staff members working on several projects in Tank, DI Khan, and North and South Waziristan agencies have been called back due to worsening security in those areas. The work on the projects would resume once the law and order situation improves, the channel said.

USAID was working on a comprehensive programme to support short, medium and long-term objectives of the government of Pakistan’s FATA Sustainable Development Plan (FSDP) 2006-2015. USAID’s objectives included enhancing the government’s legitimacy and writ in FATA, improving economic and social conditions for local communities, and supporting sustainable development. To achieve the objectives, USAID had expanded its earlier programmes and initiated new activities that included, building the capacity of FATA institutions to deliver services to citizens; improving livelihoods; strengthening health and education services; and developing FATA’s infrastructure.





How LeT conceals its terror training camps :Vicky Nanjappa

29 01 2009

January 28, 2009 15:44 IST
Source: rediff

The Lashkar-e-Tayiba [Images], which was responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks [Images], goes to extreme lengths to conceal the identity of terrorists while carrying out an attack in India, according to Intelligence Bureau sources.

The interrogation conducted on Ajmal Kasab [Images], Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin have helped the IB piece together details of the things the LeT does to ensure that the identity of the terrorists is concealed at all times.

An IB source told rediff.com that extreme caution is taken while training terrorists and the levels of security are such that none of the security agencies are able to get a wind of what is happening.

The fidayeens are trained in an area which is at least 20 kilometres away from a populated area. Moreover there should be no army camp or a police station anywhere in a 30-km radius.

While earmarking the area, the LeT ensures that there is enough land to train at least 50 men in shooting and physical training. Apart from this the LeT also ensures that there is a medical facility close by.

The LeT takes a lot of precaution in ensuring that the location is kept a secret. Only the top commander and his second in command apart from the trainers are aware of the location. What is interesting is that once the training programme is completed then the place is not used for at least another year and all traces of the camp are immediately wiped out.

Further the LeT also ensures that the area has several exit points. Once training for the day is complete no one is allowed to hang on there and all trainees return to base camp.

The trainees too are strictly vetted before being admitted. Also care is taken to ensure that the trainees don’t know each other. This is done to ensure that there is no bonding between them.