Black Hole for Foreign Aid; as U.S. Funds Increase, So Does Terrorism
Byline: V.S. Subrahmanian, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
As Pakistan approaches the international commu- nity for massive assistance for the third time in six years, donors face difficult choices. Three disasters, starting with the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, then the 2008 financial crisis, and now the massive flooding, were not Pakistan's fault. Nevertheless,
as violence and terrorism emanating from Pakistan increase, donors must ask if aid to Pakistan is improving international security.
According to aiddata.org, the international community (including international aid groups but excluding the United States) provided nearly $22 billion in international aid from 2004 through 2008 (nearly $2.5 billion in 2004, increasing to more than $7 billion in 2008). Since Sept. 11, 2001, the United States has, according to the Congressional Research Service, provided more than $18.5 billion in aid to Pakistan. Of this aid, more than $12.5 billion was military. Supposedly this aid to Pakistan is essential for counterterrorism.
But based on the numbers, it is difficult to argue that international aid to Pakistan is reducing terrorism. According to the National Counterterrorism Center's World Incidents Tracking System, which monitors noncombatant casualties of terror attacks, there was an enormous jump in terror attacks by Pakistani perpetrators from 2004 through 2008. In 2004, 110 Pakistani noncombatants were killed in terror attacks. In 2008, nearly 900 were killed. Some of this can be explained by the civil war between the Pakistani Taliban and the government. Nonetheless, the recent spate of bombings in Pakistan, which have killed at least 75 members of Pakistan's Shia minority, show that despite substantial security aid, the government remains unable to protect its citizens.
There also has been a jump in attacks by Pakistani perpetrators outside of Pakistan, including the 2006 and 2008 attacks in Mumbai. Combined, these two incidents claimed nearly 400 lives. Beyond the immediate carnage, these attacks increased the possibility of open war between the nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India. Further, a number of international terror plots, such as the 2006 airplanes plot and the recent Times Square car-bombing attempt, have been linked to Pakistan.
Pakistan has played important roles in counterterror efforts, particularly protecting NATO supply lines to Afghanistan and its own operations against the Pakistani Taliban, which have claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Pakistani troops since Sept. 11. However, despite these losses, Pakistan's priority is not counterterrorism - it is India.
When India detonated a nuclear device in 1974, then-Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto stated, Even if we have to eat grass, we will make nuclear bombs. …