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article imageBillions of U.S. aid to Pakistan diverted, India concerned

By Kevin Jess     Oct 5, 2009 in World
Only a fraction of the $6.6 billion in U.S. aid sent to Pakistan between 2002 and 2008, meant for the war on terror, has actually reached Pakistan's military, and it has India worried about how the money may have been spent.
According to a report by Associated Press, two army generals are saying that only $500 million of U.S. aid has actually made it to where it was intended, to help the Pakistan military fight the war on terror.
There were American government suspicions about where the money might have been spent. It was suspected that Musharraf, who was chief of staff and president of Pakistan at the time may have diverted the money to the domestic economy, and many other causes including fighting India, and to boost his sagging image by providing economic subsidies, says the AP report.
In an interview with Associated Press, retired General Mahmud Durrani said, "The army itself got very little. 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."
Other generals and government ministers are telling the same story and feel that it helped al-Qaida, which was virtually dismantled in 2001, rejuvenate and be able to take on a weakened Pakistani force.
The aid money is paid from the Coalition Support Fund, which was created to reimburse allies for money spent on the war on terror.
By 2008, Pakistan had received $8.6 billion in military aid from the fund making the nation the largest recipient in the coalition. To date they have received approximately $12 billion and they are about to get more.
Last week, in a move causing new concerns for India, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to triple Pakistan's non-military aid from $500 million to $1.5 billion per year until 2014, reports The Times of India.
The announcement was made by President Barrack Obama at a meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan at the United Nations headquarters in New York, says the report.
India's foreign minister S M Krishna said in a Times of India interview that his country was concerned about the vote in the U.S. Senate as "Islamabad had in the past diverted American aid to bolster its defences against India."
The report also quoted Krishna as saying, "Consider the statement that has been issued by the former president of Pakistan Musharraf himself where he has said that the aid provided to Pakistan by the US has been used for directing its hostile operations against India."
He said, "India's concern is only that aid has to be appropriated for the purpose for which it is provided by the United States."
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