Congress passes National Defence Authorisation Act 2019 capping U.S. aid to Pakistan to $150 million

The United States Congress has passed the National Defense Authorisation Act-2019 (NDAA-19) which capped its security-related aid to Pakistan to $150 million, significantly below the historic level of more than $ one billion to $750 million per year.

This year’s defence legislation, however, removes certain conditions like action against Haqqani network or Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as was the case in the past few years for disbursement of US aid to Pakistan. The legislation reduces the total amount of funds provided for reimbursement to Pakistan to $150 million. This is a significant reduction from the $700 million that was authorised through the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) last year.

However, in doing so, the legislation gets rid of the certification requirements for Pakistan’s action against the Haqqani Network and it also gets rid of the authority to reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism. Joshua White, who was also a part of Obama’s White House National Security Council team and worked on Pakistan, said this year’s defence legislation significantly reduces the amount of security assistance that Pakistan can theoretically receive outside of traditional Foreign Military Financing.

The former White House official noted that it is important to consider this legislation in the current political context. It does, however, mean that if the administration decides to resume some form of modest security assistance in the future, it will be authorised by the Congress to do so without having to produce detailed reports and make difficult certifications regarding Pakistan’s support vis-a-vis the Haqqani network and other threats to the United States.

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