The US Congress has approved a substantial defence spending bill for 2015, including a provision that extends the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) for Pakistan for a year. The bill, now known as the National Defence Authorisation Act, 2015, includes $63.7bn in overseas contingency operations, which was previously called the US-led war against terror. Support to countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq comes from this provision in the bill. The CSF reimburses allied nations for fighting terrorists, and in a way incentivises local operations against terrorists. We just received a $370 million instalment from this fund in October. There are layers of conditions on the release of these funds. The US Secretary of Defense has to certify that the military operations in North Waziristan have damaged the Haqqani Network for funds to be released. We will also be assessed in the actions we have taken against other like the TTP, Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Quetta Shura Taliban. The military has been lining up its ducks to receive this aid, though it is not called aid anymore, but a reimbursement. In November a Senator in the US Congress wanted further restrictions on the money if the Haqqani network was not stunted. It seems that he may have got them.

Pakistan has to be careful with such money, as anti-American sentiment is rife. Till now, the narrative has been under tight control by the military and ownership of the Zar-e-Azb has been taken by the military. They will not want that to be clouded by money being offered by the US and more arguments that we are surrendering our sovereignty to the US. We have been in a precarious position with the US. Just in October, the US Congress in a report accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to extremists attacking India and Afghanistan. For the US, to a large extent, Pakistan is the home of terror (though ISIS is giving every network a run for their money).

Though we seem to be trying to appease the US, and we are definitely doing our part when it comes to Zarb-e-Azb and the Khyber operations, the US has to remember we are not just sitting ducks. We are slowing becoming a conduit for China’s access to the Arabian Sea. In the new world order, when the US has guns and oil, and India wants Pakistan to be decimated so it can reach Afghanistan and Central Asia for trade, China is a balancing factor. Our military and our policy makers need to see all angles of the CSF and US motives, and make sure we are not stuck in a dependency cycle with the US, or anyone else for that matter.