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There has certainly been no lack of American money thrown at Pakistan. Overall, official figures state that the US gave Islamabad $10 billion in aid between 2002-2007. Yet in Fata 96 per cent of American aid has gone to the military. Most of this has been spent through "Coalition Support Funds", which reimburses the Pakistani army for operations it conducts against insurgents. Opaque and unaccountable, these funds have given many Pakistanis the impression that their soldiers have become little more than a mercenary force fighting someone else's war. Of the American aid that has so far been devoted to Fata, only one per cent has been spent on development assistance.

Young members of an internally displaced family from Bajaur at a UN-sponsored camp in Peshawar

Obama's election victory offers Fata some degree of hope and may end the American funding humbug. Vice-President Joseph Biden has been a long-term critic of Bush's policy in Pakistan, and was co-sponsor of last year's (2008) Enhanced Participation with Pakistan Act. When passed by Congress, the Act will give Pakistan $7.5 billion in non-military assistance over the next five years and is regarded as the vanguard of a new approach in a more holistic strategy to deal with the country's militancy.

Meanwhile, however, America has failed to achieve a single security-related objective in Fata, and the militancy there has instead spread, utilising terror in its purest essence.

Words such as "savagery" fall far short in describing the video footage and photographs showing the fate of eight Shia lorry drivers captured by the Taliban in Fata's Kurram agency on 19 July 2008. Having first been put on trial at a Taliban court, the men were dismembered one by one, apparently with a band saw.

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Gary O
February 12th, 2009
5:02 PM
Taliban and islamist extremists are the golden geese for Pakistan that regularly lays golden eggs in the form of billions of dollars in "aid", free military hardware, intelligence training and much more from Western countries, not to mention the almost universal praise heaped upon its politicians by our governments thereby giving boost to their self importance and ego. And what happens if you kill the goose that lays the golden egg?

February 7th, 2009
9:02 PM
"What can the West do about it?" errm mind its business- maybe just for once.

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