Pakistan Spends US Anti-Terror Aid on Jets

Shift in counter-terrorism funding angers lawmakers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2008 2:58 AM CDT
A Pakistani paramilitary force soldier handles his weapon as he guards a road leading to the troubled area of Bara in Pakistan's tribal region of Khyber, Saturday, July 5, 2008.    (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
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(Newser) – A plan to spend US funds earmarked for anti-terrorism aid to upgrade Pakistan's F-16 jets is angering lawmakers who complain that it's a misuse of the money, the New York Times reports. The Bush administration says the $230 million will boost the jets' ability to strike at insurgents. Critics say Pakistan uses the aircraft to maintain its military rivalry with India rather than to fight terrorism.

Lawmakers, increasingly frustrated with the administration's policy on the funds, believe there are more effective ways to use the aid to combat al-Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal areas. The funds in question, over two-thirds of America's military aid to Pakistan this year, had been earmarked to refurbish two patrol planes, upgrade Pakistan's attack helicopters and to purchase new airfield navigation aids.