Pak – US Relations Part – 6

ISAF Routes to Afghanistan

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is led by the US, needed Pakistan to attack and take over Afghanistan, which is landlocked. Its first and most important goal was to get goods to Kabul in a safe and inexpensive way. At the start of the war, the airlift was the third biggest in history, after the Berlin Airlift and the Gulf War Airlift of 1990. Since the cost of airlifting was $14,000 per tonne, which was up to ten times more than the cost of land transport, everything but the weapons had to be moved by road. There were many ways to get to Afghanistan by land. Iran through Chabahar was not an option for the US and its allies, but there were two other land routes to Kabul: one through Pakistan, called Ground Lines of Communications (GLOC), and the other through Russia and Central Asian Republics, which became known as the Northern Distribution Network (NDN). Most NDN traffic went through Riga, Latvia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan. Poti, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan were also popular paths. A third route was taken to escape the often dangerous interior of Uzbekistan. It went from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan, then through Tajikistan, and then from Termez, Uzbekistan, into Afghanistan. But compared to Pakistan, all of these lines took five times longer and cost five times more money. From the port of Karachi in Pakistan, there were two land paths. One road went over the Khyber Pass, into Afghanistan at Torkham, and ended at Kabul. This route brought supplies to the north of Afghanistan. The length of this trip was about 1,600 km. The other route went through Baluchistan Province, crossed the border at Chaman, and finished in Kandahar, which is in southern Afghanistan. Most of the ISAF’s fuel and other non-lethal supplies were moved by GLOC. “The military burned an average of 575,000 gallons of fuel per day, and 80% of that fuel came from Pakistani refineries,” said the Associated Press. So, “about 1,000 oil tankers went through Pakistan every month,” as the sentence says. Also, “about 4,000 containers carrying food for ISAF every month” went through Pakistan 80% of the time.

Post Salala Incident Happenings

In 2002, Musharraf made two “one-sided” agreements that were only good for him. Pakistan decided, among other things, to let the ISAF military supplies go freely to Afghanistan. Before the Salala incident on November 26, 2011, when Pakistan shut its borders to ISAF supplies to protest the killing of its troops, the US was happy with this deal. The US started using the NDN lines right away, even though they cost $100 million more per month than the GLOC. This showed that Pakistan had saved the US billions of dollars in the cost of a war that has been going on for over 20 years. The stoppage over Salala lasted for more than seven months, and during that time, thousands of containers were left in parking lots near border points. Because of this and the extra cost of the NDN routes, the US had to arrange the reopening of GLOC. This gave Pakistan a chance to “fix Musharraf’s mistake.” But the talks that followed got stuck over two major points. Pakistan asked the US to pay a passage fee for each trailer or container and say sorry for what happened in Salala. Pakistan said that since 2002, NATO crates had damaged the country’s roads to the tune of Rs100 billion without paying anything in return. It asked for $5,000 for each trailer or container. The number included the cost of fixing all of the damaged infrastructure, as well as the cost of protection and a new rate. The US turned down the request right away. Pakistan dropped the bet to $1,000, which turned out to be between $1,800 and $2,000 per trailer or container after other fees. This was also turned down by the US, which said, “It won’t be priced out of reach.” In the same way, the US didn’t give an inch on the apology. Earlier, President Barack Obama had said he was sorry, but he didn’t apologise. Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta said in June 2012 that they were “not willing to apologise” and that “I think it’s time to move on.” Even though they seemed to be playing games, the US “believed that without cooperation from Pakistan, it would be a horrible task to have an honourable exit from Afghanistan and a logistical herculean effort to bring back its equipment and troops from this war-torn country without safe passage and support from Pakistan.”
So, on July 3, 2012, when relations between Pakistan and the US were at their worst ever, the two sides decided to break the stalemate. The US Secretary of State said she was sorry for “the losses the Pakistani military had to go through.” The Finance Minister of Pakistan said that Islamabad was required by the 2002 deal to not charge any transit fees. The US Secretary of State praised Pakistan for giving in “in the larger interest of peace and security in Afghanistan and the region.” This was meant to make Pakistan feel better about having to swallow a bitter pill. And, as against $3 billion, payable to Pakistan military from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for counterterrorism measures, which had been withheld since the closure of GLOC to ISAF in November 2011, the US agreed to release only $1.1 billion. It took it another six months to repay $688 million on 6 December 2012. After 9/11, the CSF was set up to help Pakistan and other US partners pay for the costs of the War on Terror. It was, by no means, US help. It was used to make payments that were mostly rebates. Despite the patch-up, Pak-US relations stayed on the rocks. The trust gap, betrayed, inter alia, by the killing of Osama Bin Laden in the CIA-led Operation Neptune Spear (2 May 2011) in Pakistan, without Pakistan’s knowledge, and the Salala onslaught six months later, continued to grow by the day. The US continued to “(accuse) Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of maintaining ties to militants targeting U.S. troops in Afghanistan” and, therefore, withhold reimbursements time and again. Pakistan continued to lament that its contribution and sacrifices were not being recognised adequately; dispel the “myth that (it was) a beneficiary of tens of billions of dollars”; and complain that even its real costs were not being reimbursed in full and in time. Nonetheless, the forced marriage, bereft of mutual trust and respect, lived as an ineludible necessity till the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.


Pak – US Relations Part – 5

Change in Pak-US relations after 9/11

Pakistan’s relationship with the US changed in a big way after the September 11 attacks (9/11). Until then, because the US and Pakistan have different strategic goals, their relationship could at best be called a “partnership of convenience.” But President George W. Bush’s “either with us or against us” threat on November 6, 2001, and President Pervez Musharraf’s quick “yes” under pressure made it into a forced marriage. The US asked Pakistan to work with the US-led coalition against the Taliban government and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and Pakistan agreed. Pakistan thought that it would get help with its money problems as a “dowry.”

Within a few days, the US gave a total of $673 million in grants as part of a plan to help. It also changed the terms of a $379 million debt and made it possible for the US Agency for International Development (US AID) to restart its office in Pakistan after being closed for seven years. In August 2002, the US changed how it would pay Pakistan its $ 3 billion loan. This was made up of $2.3 billion in official development aid, which had to be paid back over 38 years, and $700 million in non-official development aid, which had to be paid back over 23 years. Japan, Britain, and other countries in Europe did the same.

This also made it possible for Pakistan’s foreign debt to be rescheduled in a way that was good for the country, and aid packages were sent to help fight poverty and help refugees. The IMF gave Pakistan a loan of $1.3 billion to help it fight poverty and make up for the damage the war in Afghanistan has done to its economy. After the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility, there was a rearrangement by the Paris Club. Few countries, like Poland, Jordan, Egypt, and Yugoslavia, were able to do what Pakistan did in the Paris Club. Its total debt, which was about $12.5 billion, was reset to be paid off over 38 years for the concessional part and 23 years for the non-concessional part, with 15 and 5 years of grace, respectively. To get an idea of how much of a relief this is, just think about how nearly half of this debt was set to be paid off in the next 5–6 years.

Pakistan agreed to work with the US-led alliance against the Taliban government in Afghanistan and the Al-Qaeda group

Pakistan named one of the US’s most important non-NATO allies

Both the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank decided to give about $1.5 billion through their “concessional windows” to help with the reforms over the next few years. Pakistan was able to get better access for its goods to markets in Europe, which would mean a nett gain of $400 million per year. The US said that they would do something similar. In February 2002, the White House said that it wanted to work with Congress to give Pakistan more help, especially in the areas of debt relief, greater trade, educational reform, and cooperation in defence and security. Before the end of 2003, President Bush agreed to give Pakistan a break on its debt of up to $1 billion. Around the same time, US help said it would give Pakistan $50 million a year in help, and by 2004, that amount would go up to $80 million. In August 2002, it decided to give Pakistan a grant of $100 million to help pay for educational programmes there over the next five years. Pakistan is one of the two countries where the US AID Mission Chief said, “We will have much stronger programmes.” The other country is Afghanistan.

Sources outside of the government say that Pakistan’s economy had a “solid macroeconomic recovery (within)… five years.” Given Pakistan’s low level of growth, the long-term outlook was still uncertain, but the medium-term outlook for creating jobs and reducing poverty was the best it had been in more than a decade. Since 2001, the amount of people living in poverty has gone down by 10%, and Islamabad has slowly increased spending on development, including a 52% real increase in the budget for development in FY07, which was a step that needed to be taken to fix the underdevelopment of its social sector as a whole. The fiscal imbalance seemed to be manageable. It was caused by chronically low tax collections and increased spending, such as the costs of rebuilding after the earthquake in October 2005.. In 2004 and 2006, the growth of GDP stayed between 6 and 8 percent. This was due to growth in the industry and service sectors. The biggest threat to the economy was still inflation, which jumped to more than 9% in 2005 and then went down to 7.9% in 2006. The central bank tried to keep growth going by making money tighter and raising interest rates in 2006. The steady money that workers sent home from abroad ($10.95 billion in 2005) helped the country’s foreign exchange savings.

In the defence area, too, steps were taken to get cooperation going again. In July 2002, the US said it would sell six cargo planes to Pakistan. This would be the first big military sale between the two countries since 1990. Six planes, equipment, services, and training sites were part of the $75 million deal. “The proposed sale will (improve) the United States’ foreign policy and national security,” the Pentagon said in defence of the move. Pakistan would be able to help the US-led military operation against the Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network more if it had these planes.

Within five years, the wheel went all the way around, bringing back memories of how things were during the height of the Afghan Jehad. Pakistan was named one of the US’s most important non-NATO allies. The Defence Security Cooperation Agency told Congress on June 28, 2006, that it planned to give Pakistan a $5.1 billion Foreign Military Sales package to update the F-16s, which were the best fighters in the PAF. The US company Lockheed Martin was given a $ 144 million deal to start making 18 F-16C/Ds for Pakistan. The project was supposed to be finished by November 2010. Conformal fuel tanks, helmet-mounted cueing systems, Link 16 data links, and electronic warfare tools were all part of the package. 500 Raytheon AIM-120C5, 200 AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and 2,100 precision-guided bombs were part of a $650 million deal for weapons.

In December 2006, Pakistan Air Force and Tusas Aerospace Industries of Turkey signed an agreement to update up to 32 F-16A/Bs. Also, the Pentagon told Congress that it might sell three P-3 planes with airborne early warning systems (AWACS) worth $855 million to Pakistan. “Pakistan plans to use the planes with the E-2C Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning System for its naval forces,” says the Pentagon. Pakistan would be better able to stop terrorists and drug dealers from entering or leaving the country with the help of the updated planes.

Pakistan did get more money and better weapons because of the gift. But in exchange, it had to help the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) fight the Taliban and Al-Qaida in Afghanistan without any conditions. It did this, which more than made up for what it lost.

Pak-US-Relations - Part 4

Pak – US Relations Part – 4

Reinstatement of Pak’s IMF Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility/Electronic Frontier Foundation (ESAF/EFF)

As we’ve already talked about, the nuclear tests were a big setback for US-Pakistani ties, which had improved during the second Clinton administration when the US showed more interest in the country. Within a few days, President Clinton signed the Glenn Amendment, which put more economic and military bans on Pakistan. But since most of the help had already stopped, the Glenn penalties didn’t have many more effects on bilateral aid to Pakistan. An official US report says, “The Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests of May 1998 triggered the draconian-looking Glenn Amendment sanctions, but in practise, they were implemented with a lot of flexibility, which made them much less harsh than they could have been.” Also, as we talked about in Part III, the Brownback Amendments I and II, which were passed almost right after the Glenn Amendment sanctions were put in place against India and Pakistan, let the president get out of most of the Glenn sanctions. In November 1998 and October 1999, President Clinton used this power to get rid of some of the toughest sanctions against India and Pakistan.

Also, as we talked about in Part III, the Brownback Amendments I and II, which were passed almost right after the Glenn Amendment sanctions were put in place against India and Pakistan, let the president get out of most of the Glenn sanctions. In November 1998 and October 1999, President Clinton used this power to get rid of some of the toughest sanctions against India and Pakistan. But there is more to the business than just wheat and clothes. At that time, Pakistan had just over a billion dollars in foreign exchange savings, which wasn’t even enough to pay for imports for two weeks. Also, Pakistan would soon have to pay back a lot of money to other countries. Analysts said that Pakistan would have to do very bad things to get through the sanctions. To deal with the problem, the government, among other things, passed a new law that froze all Foreign Currency accounts in Pakistani banks and stopped all legal rights that dealt with foreign exchange. This, in turn, caused the Pakistani Rupee to lose a lot of value, which made Pakistan’s debt load bigger. Pakistan, but not India, borrowed money from the IMF. In May 1998, there was still almost a billion dollars in a line of credit that had been set up a few months before. The penalties put a big question mark over how this amount would be paid out. Under US law, the Administration had to fight against foreign organisations giving more money to Pakistan. Even though the US does not have a veto on IMF lending programmes, it is the largest shareholder in the body and has 18% of the votes. As with the World Bank, it was unlikely that the IMF would give money to Pakistan without help from the US.

Pakistan, like India, was a big borrower from the World Bank. However, $800 million in new loans to India have been put off forever. Pakistan’s request for a loan of about $750 million could not be handled in a different way, of course. Japan, which gave Pakistan the most bilateral aid, with loans worth nearly $500 million each year, stopped its aid plan.

After that, G-7 put in place economic penalties that made the situation even worse. The partial lifting of sanctions and the following reinstatement of Pakistan’s IMF Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility/Electronic Frontier Foundation (ESAF/EFF) in early 1999, followed by a re-scheduling by the Paris Club and the London Club, kept the country from going into international default by just a little bit. The conditions of the IMF programme were hard for the government to meet, so the programme was stopped in July 1999. Pakistan revealed a reform plan and started talking with the IMF about a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility that would start in July 2000.

China gives Pakistan M-11 missiles

Again, Pakistan was hit harder by the sanctions than India. This was mostly because Pakistan was more dependent on the US than India was, and it also bought many parts of its nuclear weapon and missile infrastructure, which led to sanctions meant to stop such transfers. India did not break these parts of US law because its missile and nuclear programmes were seen as mostly homegrown, even though they had received help from other countries. Brownback-II (June 1999) did give Pakistan some relief from the Symington and Pressler amendment penalties, which since 1990 had made it illegal for the U.S. to give Pakistan any military or economic help. But as bad luck would have it, this comfort didn’t last long. Section 508 of the Foreign Appropriations Act added a new layer of sanctions after the civilian government in Islamabad was overthrown in October 1999. These sanctions included limits on foreign military funds and economic aid. This meant that the US could mostly only help Pakistan with helping refugees and fighting drugs. In November 2000, after the US found that China had given Pakistan M-11 missiles in the latter half of the 1990s, the Clinton Administration put sanctions on the Pakistani Ministry of Defence, the Pakistani Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, and their sub-units under the Arms Export Control Act and the Export Administration Act. This meant that exports to (and imports from) entities receiving Missile Technology Control Regime Category-I missiles were banned. Before the US gave in, Pakistan had to wait until the turn of the century. Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Jim McDermott (D-WA) proposed a bill in April 2001 to get rid of all sanctions against India and Pakistan. But after 9/11 and its effects, the congressional process was put on hold.


Pak – US Relations (Part – 3)

Clinton Administration’s plan to get Pakistan to sign CTBT

As we’ve talked about, the end of the second romance between Pakistan and the US was when the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989. The US put the Pressler sanctions on Pakistan right away, which stopped all military help and new economic aid. And to make things worse, it wouldn’t let 28 F-16s that were built, paid for, and ready to be sent out. It also wouldn’t give back $658 that had already been paid for the planes. It took almost five years for Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts to persuade the US that it was in both countries’ best interests to work together at least on anti-terrorism and anti-drug efforts, that Pakistan could help keep peace in trouble spots all over the world, and that it was wrong to hold back items (other than F-16s) that had been paid for long ago. The Clinton Administration did give in, but it did so because it was part of its plan to get Pakistan to sign the CTBT. So, in 1995, Congress passed the Brown Amendment, which gave the Administration permission to work with Pakistan more on fighting terrorism and drug trafficking and to release $368 million worth of military equipment that Pakistan had bought and paid for before the Pressler sanctions. Even though there were claims that China gave Pakistan nuclear and missile parts and technology, the change was still passed. The $368 million worth of equipment that was released included F-16 extra parts and ammunition, but not the 28 F-16 planes that had already been paid for in 1989. It also made exceptions to the embargo for some kinds of help, like fighting drugs, military-to-military contact, training, humanitarian and community projects, peacekeeping and other international obligations, and helping fight terrorism. (Most of the time, their funding came with wording in the law saying that they had to be done “regardless of any other law”). But even though the release helped the industrial base grow, Pakistan’s efforts to modernize the Armed Forces were greatly hampered by limited financial resources and a number of penalties.

It took almost five years for Pakistan to convince the US that at least working together against terrorism and drugs was good for both countries.

Nuclear Tests: a big setback for US-Pakistan ties

Pakistan kept begging for a decade, but no one would give them back 28 planes or give them back $658 million. When India did nuclear tests in May 1998, the US gave in with some conditions. India boldly told Pakistan not to do tit-for-tat tests because it wanted to show that it was stronger than Pakistan. It couldn’t have been any more rude! Pakistan turned down this fake offer. It thought that having nuclear weapons was a good way to stop nuclear India. This made the US very angry and gave them another reason to play wolf and lamb with Pakistan again. So, the nuclear tests were a big setback for US-Pakistan ties, which had been getting better during the second Clinton administration when the US became more interested in Pakistan. At that time, Pakistan was facing a number of limits on aid because of the Pressler Amendment and the Symington Amendment. These restrictions were put in place because Pakistan had a nuclear explosive device and had received uranium enrichment equipment.

Stoppages of loans from IMF/ World Bank

Both India and Pakistan were hit with Glenn Amendment penalties within a few days. So, under the Foreign Assistance Act, the US stopped giving help to both of the nuclear neighbors, including help with economic growth. Under the Arms Export Control Act, military sales to other countries were stopped. The US government stopped giving credit and guaranteeing credit. India and Pakistan could no longer get loans from US banks. Loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were also stopped. And exports of nuclear or missile things with more than one use were not allowed. In July 1998, just three months after the Glenn Amendment sanctions went into effect, Congress rushed to pass a law that gave India and Pakistan a one-year exemption from the Glenn Amendment restrictions on buying agricultural goods from US farmers. This was done in response to pressure from the farmers’ lobby at home. The India-Pakistan Relief Act of 1998, also known as Brownback-I, was also passed by Congress the next day. This law gave the President the power to lift the Glenn, Symington, and Pressler amendment sanctions against India and Pakistan for a time of one year, except for the restrictions on military aid, exports with more than one use, and military sales.

Brownback I & II

In October 1998, Brownback-I was signed into law. Pakistan said in September 1998 that it would sign the CTBT by September 1999, but only if certain things were met. In November 1998, President Clinton used his waiver power under Brownback I to bring back some non-military aid projects in India and remove restrictions on what US banks could do in India and Pakistan. In June 1999, Congress passed Brownback-II, which gave the President the power to waive penalties permanently. Since 1990, the Symington and Pressler amendments had made it illegal for the U.S. government to give Pakistan any kind of military or economic help. The amendment also gave the President the power to ignore those restrictions. Brownback II made it possible to get back the money that was paid up front for 28 F-16s ten years ago. Six months later, the Administration decided to give back only $ 467 million in cash and the rest in kind, in the form of grains. And the US’s self-declared non-NATO friend breathed a sigh of relief, even though the way the money was returned was completely crazy.


Pak – US Relations (Part – 2)

End of second Pak – US romance

The 1990 Sanctions: When Pakistan and Afghanistan signed the Geneva Accords on April 14, 1988, the second Pak-US romance was over. The agreements, which were backed by both the US and the Soviet Union, included a plan for when the Soviets would leave Afghanistan. This process began on May 15, 1988, and ended on February 15, 1989. With the Soviets leaving Afghanistan, Pakistan became less important to the US from a military point of view. President George W. Bush didn’t waste any time in refusing to declare that Pakistan “did not possess a nuclear explosive device.” Under the Pressler Amendment, Washington stopped all military help and new economic aid to Islamabad on October 1, 1990.

Pakistan and Afghanistan signed the Geneva Accords on April 14, 1988. This marked the end of the second Pak-US honeymoon

Worst Decade of Pakistan’s Economy

Pakistan was hurt very badly by the sanctions. A study of Pakistan’s economy says that the 1990s were the worst decade for the country’s economy. International financial institutions and individual donors gave Pakistan loans and grants worth about $2.5 billion each year. Pakistan has a hard time getting loans and funds because of the sanctions. From $22 billion in 1990 to $38 billion at the end of 2000, the country’s debt to other countries grew. (Pakistan spent about 80% of its budget each year on paying its debts. It paid back about $5 billion in interest and capital to its foreign creditors in 2000 alone. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate dropped from an average of 6.5% in the 1980s to 4.6% in the 1990s. In the second half of the 1990s, the rate was even lower at 4.2%. Between 1996-1997 and 2000-2001, the average growth was not more than 3%. Pakistan has never really had a problem with inflation, but it was in the double digits for most of the 1990s. From about 3% in the 1980s to close to 6% in the 1990s, the unemployment rate almost doubled. Especially in the manufacturing sector, investment and growth in industry development were going in the wrong direction.

In the 1990s, poverty became a big problem in both the economy and society. Between 1987 and 2000, almost twice as many poor people were living below the poverty line. In 1987-1988, 17.3% of the people lived below the poverty line. By 1998-1999, this number had jumped to 32.6%. The amount spent on growth dropped from 7.2% of GDP at the beginning of the 1980s to around 4.2% in the 1990s. From close to 9% of GDP in the early 1980s to less than 3% of GDP in the late 1990s, development spending dropped by almost a third in real terms. During the Afghan Jihad, the US gave Pakistan military help so that it could update its traditional defenses. 40% of the aid package went to non-repayable credits for buying military equipment. This was the third biggest program, after Israel and Egypt. The rest of the aid scheme went to helping people with money. Because of the financial restrictions that came with the sanctions, Pakistan’s armed forces, which have 620,000 active members and 513,000 reservists and are the eighth biggest in the world, couldn’t train as well as they normally would. In the same way, Pakistan had a hard time keeping its old fleet of American, Chinese, British, and French weapons running.

The Case of F16s

During the Afghan Jihad, Pakistan wanted to buy F-16 fighter planes to take advantage of the situation. Almost right away, the request was granted. In December 1981, a deal was made for the purchase of 40 planes. The first plane arrived in Pakistan in January 1983, and the last of 40 planes was sent there in 1987. After Israel, Pakistan was the second country to use this top-notch front-line attack plane.

In 1989, the deal to buy 71 more F-16s was finally worked out. Pakistan bought 28 planes for $658 million. By the time the Pressler amendment was used in October 1990, 17 planes had already been built and sent to the Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Centre (AMARC) in Arizona. Also, 11 new planes for planes that were lost were built, paid for, and ready to be sent to Pakistan. But these planes were never sent because Pakistan was no longer needed in Afghanistan. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the money Pakistan paid ahead of time wasn’t returned for about ten years.

Pak - US Relations

Pak – US Relations (Part – 1)

The US keeps playing with Pakistan. This time, it’s to get back at Pakistan for the “most humiliating defeat in history,” which was actually caused by the Taliban but “credited” to Pakistan.

Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act of 2021

On September 27, 22 Republican senators, including Mitt Romney, who ran for president in 2012, pushed a bill through the Senate. The bill, which is called the “Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act of 2021,” would put sanctions on both the Taliban and Pakistan. It requires the Secretary of State to give a report on Pakistan’s help for the Taliban within 180 days of the Act being signed into law.

The report must include information about how state and non-state actors in Pakistan helped Taliban between 2001-2010, including “sanctuary space, financial support, intelligence support, logistics, medical support, training, equipment, and tactical, operational, or strategic direction.” It must also figure out what part Pakistan played in helping Taliban overthrow the government of Ashraf Ghani and take over Panjshir.

The bill gives US President the power to put sanctions on “any foreign person who has provided support to any terrorist group in Afghanistan, engaged in serious human rights abuses,” or “played a role in drug trafficking” in country. The measures would stop people from buying or selling property, from coming to US, and from using visas they already have. Also, sanctions that are already in place against the Taliban would stay in place, and US’s allies would be urged to do the same.

History is repeating itself

The history of ties between Pakistan and US is a sad story of US putting sanctions on Pakistan, easing them, taking them off, putting them back on, and so on.

The 1965 suspension of military assistance affected Pakistan more severely because of Islamabad’s heavier dependence on Washington.

In 1947, US and Pakistan set up formal ties. Pakistan’s location on a route that connects important parts of South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, and China gave it a unique place as a gateway to these areas. The US agreed to help Pakistan with its economy and defence, and Pakistan joined Baghdad Pact, CENTO, and SEATO when it was just getting started as a country. This was their first date, and it set the stage for a long and difficult relationship between two countries.

US trained Pakistani nuclear scientists

As a result of the Cold War, the US saw India as a possible alternative to communist China and the Soviet Union. It tried to make friends with India, ignored its young nuclear programme, and even gave it nuclear technology through the Atoms for Peace programme. Pakistani nuclear scientists were also taught by the US, and Pakistan got a nuclear research reactor from the US. But during the Indo-Pakistan war in 1965, the US stopped giving Pakistan armed help. Even though the suspension impacted both India and Pakistan equally, it hurt Pakistan more because Islamabad is more dependent on Washington. The ban stayed in place until 1975, when sales of guns were finally allowed to start up again. In May 1974, India put the Smiling Buddha through a test firing. This gave Pakistan’s nuclear programme a boost and led the US to pass laws against spreading nuclear weapons.

Imposition of sanctions on Pakistan

The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 was changed by the Symington Amendment in 1976. This change stopped the US from giving most kinds of economic and military aid to any country that gave or got nuclear enrichment equipment, materials, or technology that wasn’t protected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The next year, Congress added the Glenn Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act. This meant that the US couldn’t help any country that didn’t have nuclear weapons but had a nuclear blast. India and Pakistan did not lose their rights because of the Symington and Glenn changes. Congress passed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act in 1978. This law made it illegal to send nuclear technology to countries that don’t have nuclear weapons unless those countries agreed to full IAEA controls. The Act also said that any state that tried to get unprotected technology could be punished. Pakistan was hit with these penalties right away. In April 1979, President Carter put economic and military sanctions on Pakistan because Islamabad was quietly building a place to enrich uranium, which was against the Symington Amendment. (These sanctions did not stop foreign financial institutions from giving aid in the form of grants and loans to help feed people)

Change in US attitude towards Pakistan

In December 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, the US suddenly and drastically changed how it felt about Pakistan. Due to concerns about national security, the US lifted the sanctions above, even though there was proof that Pakistan was working on a nuclear weapons programme. This was clearly meant to get Pakistan ready for a role against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and it marked the second honeymoon in their relationship with each other. In 1981, the US passed a $3.2 billion military and economic aid programme for Pakistan. The goal was to help Pakistan deal with the growing threat to security in the area and meet its own needs for economic growth. In March 1986, a $4 billion plan like this one was given the green light for the years 1988-1993. Ironically, while the US Administration was trying to get a Pakistan that could make nuclear weapons to help fight the war in Afghanistan, Congress was busy making scaffolding for the people who spread nuclear weapons. During the Afghan Jihad, Congress passed the Pressler Amendment (1985) to the Foreign Assistance Act, which helped Pakistan. This amendment stopped most economic and military aid to Pakistan unless the US President could swear every year that “Pakistan did not have a nuclear weapon and that US aid would make it less likely for Pakistan to have a nuclear weapon.” Even though Pakistan told the world in 1984 that it could enrich uranium for nuclear bombs and in 1987 that it could put together a nuclear device, the US kept saying that Pakistan was not a nuclear power until 1990. Ironically, while the US Administration was trying to get a Pakistan that could make nuclear weapons to help fight the war in Afghanistan, Congress was busy making scaffolding for the people who spread nuclear weapons. During the Afghan Jihad, Congress passed the Pressler Amendment (1985) to the Foreign Assistance Act, which helped Pakistan. This amendment stopped most economic and military aid to Pakistan unless the US President could swear every year that “Pakistan did not have a nuclear weapon and that US aid would make it less likely for Pakistan to have a nuclear weapon.” Even though Pakistan told the world in 1984 that it could enrich uranium for nuclear bombs and in 1987 that it could put together a nuclear device, the US kept saying that Pakistan was not a nuclear power until 1990.

To be continued