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Reversing the Trump administration’s decision, US sanctions $450 million F-16 fleet sustainment program for Pakistan

Significantly, the Trump administration suspended approximately $2 billion in financial assistance to Pakistan in 2018.

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden approved $450 million in financial aid to Pakistan to sustain a fleet of F-16 fighter jets, overriding the decision taken under previous President Donald Trump. This assistance is being provided to Pakistan in order for it to deal with existing and future counter-terrorism operations, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

In 2018, Trump halted aid to Pakistan

This is the largest security assistance given to Pakistan in the last four years. Significantly, the Trump administration suspended approximately $2 billion in financial assistance to Pakistan in 2018. The US had stated then that Islamabad was not a participant in the war against terrorism.

The United States recognizes Pakistan as a counter-terrorism ally

The State Department said in a statement to the US Congress that it has decided to sanction a prospective Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Pakistan for the maintenance of F-16 fighter jets. “The US government has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale to preserve the Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 program,” a State Department spokesperson said. He further added that Pakistan is an essential counter-terrorism ally.

In an answer to a question, the official added, “Pakistan’s F-16 program is a key component of the larger US-Pakistan bilateral partnership. The F-16 fleet lets Pakistan support counterterrorism operations, and we expect Pakistan to take continuous action against all terrorist organisations.”

It is considered that the recent help given by Pakistan is a significant cause behind this softness of America. The US drone used to kill al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan flew from a Gulf country to Kabul via Pakistan. According to experts, this drone aircraft could not fly over Pakistani airspace without the permission of General Bajwa. Imran Khan had earlier opposed the operation of US drones in Pakistan, but this approval was granted to the US during Shahbaz Sharif’s reign.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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