F-16 programme an important part of U.S.-Pakistan bilateral relationship: U.S.

“Pakistan’s F-16 programme is an important part of a broader U.S.-Pakistan bilateral relationship, and this proposed sale will sustain Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats,” said U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price

September 14, 2022 06:33 pm | Updated 06:36 pm IST - Washington

File picture of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Sherdils (Lion Heart) squad’s fighter jet F-16 fighter jet in Karachi, Pakistan

File picture of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Sherdils (Lion Heart) squad’s fighter jet F-16 fighter jet in Karachi, Pakistan | Photo Credit: Reuters

The F-16 programme is an important part of a broader US-Pakistan bilateral relationship and this fleet will allow the country to support counterterrorism operations, the Biden administration has said, defending its decision to provide a $450 million worth of military sustenance programme to Pakistan.

On September 8, the Biden administration approved a $450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan to help it meet current and future counterterrorism threats, in Washington’s first major security assistance to Islamabad in four years.

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“We did recently notify Congress of a proposed foreign military sale valued at $450 million for maintenance and sustainment services for the Pakistani Air Force's F-16 programme,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference on Tuesday.

“Pakistan is an important partner in a number of regards, an important counterterrorism partner. And as part of our longstanding policy, we provide lifecycle maintenance and sustainment packages for U. S.-origin platforms,” he said in response to a question.

“Pakistan's F-16 programme is an important part of a broader U.S.-Pakistan bilateral relationship, and this proposed sale will sustain Pakistan's capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining the F-16 fleet,” Mr. Price said.

“Now, this is a fleet that allows Pakistan to support counterterrorism operations, and we expect Pakistan will take sustained action against all terrorist groups,” said the Spokesperson.

In 2018, Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had suspended about $2 billion in security aid to Islamabad for failing to clamp down on the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network terror groups and dismantle their safe havens in the country.

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