Pakistan’s pay day

May 5, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Posted in International | Leave a comment

I guess this is a pretty decent demonstration of how concerned the Obama administration is right now:

How important has Pakistan become, to U.S. polcymakers? This important: The House Appropriations Committee yesterday approved an emergency spending measure that included $2.3 billion in assistance to Pakistan — a bigger chunk of change than either Iraq or Afghanistan would receive. Those funds would provide $46 million for diplomatic operations including extra security; $897 million to build a new secure embassy and consulates in Pakistan; and $400 million to build Pakistani counterinsurgency forces. The bill would would also give Islamabad $997 million to help stave off economic collapse.

That’s obviously a massive amount of money and it’ll hopefully help secure parts of Pakistan’s infrastructure and begin to build a competent counterinsurgency effort (though Mustafa Qadri’s article on the Pakistani army doesn’t give you too much confidence). But if we’re really about to see 500,000 people fleeing Swat Valley, you’re looking at the potential of a huge (and costly) humanitarian crisis. If the country currently lacks the capacity to contain – never mind defeat – its Taliban, what are the chances of it being able to look after half a million displaced people? With or without the $2.3 billion, this mess won’t start to improve any time soon.

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