US aid in Pakistan: Where's the money going?

The discovery of Osama bin Laden hiding in a Pakistani military town has Congress threatening cuts to US aid, and populists in Pakistan saying good riddance. But beyond the angry rhetoric, experts see a mismatch between US hopes and where the dollars have gone.

1. How much US money is in Pakistan?

Anjum Naveed/AP
In this May 8 file photo, a Pakistan army soldier secures a street close to the house, background, of former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The discovery of bin Laden hiding in the Pakistani military town has Congress threatening cuts to US aid in Pakistan.

The US has provided $20.7 billion to Pakistan since 2002. A little more than two-thirds of that went to military use, the remainder to civilian.

The biggest ticket item, at $8.9 billion, is something called “Coalition Support Funds.” These are reimbursements for Pakistan’s military assistance in the war on terror.

The second largest chunk, $4.8 billion, falls under “Economic Support Funds.” Most of this has gone to shore up the government’s budget, either as revenue or to pay off debt to the US.

Much less is spent on seemingly major US priorities: The Frontier Corps, the Pakistani force doing most of the fighting, has received $100 million. Antiterrorism and nuclear nonproliferation efforts: $90 million.

“One of the things we should be doing is training the police, but we’re not doing it.... Pakistanis are not letting us. They want the Army to do everything,” says C. Christine Fair, assistant professor at Georgetown University in Washington.

1 of 5
of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of 5 free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.