Billions in US Aid Never Reach Pakistan’s Military

With US Poised to Triple Aid, No Mechanism for Accountability

by Jason Ditz, October 04, 2009

Where does US military aid go after it enters Pakistan? That’s the $6.6 billion question.

According to top generals, of the $6.6 billion in American military aid to the nation between 2002 and 2008, only about $500 million of it actually ended up in the hands of the military.

Exactly where the rest of that money went is unclear, but officials say much of it went to then-President Pervez Musharraf’s various subsidy programs to try to bolster his sagging domestic image.

Even for the money that did get to Pakistan’s military, much of it was spent on equipment to fight India as opposed to fighting the assorted insurgencies the US was hoping to target. As one Pentagon spokesman put it “we don’t have a mechanism for tracking the money after we have given it to them.”

The lack of accountability is bound to raise concerns, particularly with the Senate having approved a bill to triple non-military aid to Pakistan late last month. The same bill also authorized military aid to whatever level necessary to defeat al-Qaeda: which could potentially be an enormous black hole from which US aid pours, never to be seen again.

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