Acknowledging that its massive aid to Pakistan over the years could have been diverted, the Obama administration on Tuesday said it would make sure that future assistance reached the intended target.
The assurance by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs comes after the U.S. Congress cleared $7.5-billion in aid to Pakistan over the next five years with lawmakers cautioning that Islamabad had a record of diverting and siphoning off aid.
While not commenting directly on reports that between 2002 and 2008 a major portion of the $6 billion given as aid to Pakistan had not reached its intended target, Mr. Gibbs said: “I don’t think it’s any wonder that our efforts in aiding the Pakistan Army were not altogether very successful, and now we know why.”
Media reports earlier said the U.S. had long suspected that much of the billions of dollars it had sent Pakistan to battle militants had been diverted to the domestic economy and other causes, such as fighting India.
India has time and again expressed its concern over increasing U.S. aid to Pakistan for the fight against terrorism, saying the money was being diverted by Islamabad to support hostile operations against it. The reports quoting two senior Pakistani Generals said that between 2002 and 2008, while Al-Qaeda regrouped, only $500 million of the $6.6 billion in American aid actually made it to the Pakistani military.
“The army itself got very little,” said General (retired) Mahmud Durrani, who was Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S. under President Pervez Musharraf.
“It went to things like subsidies, which is why everything looked hunky-dory. The military was financing the war on terror out of its own budget.”
General (retired) Musharraf had said in a recent interview that he had diverted U.S. funds meant to fight terrorism to build the Army against India.