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Pakistan seeks US surplus defence equipment in Afghanistan

Monday, 31 March 2014 - 6:17pm IST | Agency: IANS

The US Monday said it had under consideration a Pakistani request for American defence equipment worth some $7 billion that shall be rendered surplus once US troops withdraw from Afghanistan this year-end.

The US had earlier denied as "inaccurate" American media reports and claims by Afghan officials that Washington was planning to hand over surplus armoured vehicles and other military equipment to Pakistan, Xinhua reported.

The Pentagon may give Pakistan some of the $7 billion worth of armoured vehicles and other equipment it needs to dispose of now that the war in Afghanistan is ending.

Afghan officials had lambasted the reports and presidential spokesman Emal Faizi stated last week that Kabul would strongly oppose any US decision to give arms to Pakistan. The Afghan Senate had also protested at the decision.

However, the US forces in Afghanistan later said they did not provide or intend to provide any such equipment from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

The US embassy in Islamabad Monday confirmed that Pakistan has requested for the excess arms in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan has requested a variety of Excess Defence Articles (EDA). The US is currently reviewing Pakistan's request for EDA. If approved, this EDA is likely to be sourced from US stock outside Afghanistan," the embassy said in a statement. It added that the US assists Pakistan through many security cooperation programmes to build partnership capacity.

"The decisions of who receives EDA are made on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration a range of factors including the need of potential recipients, regional security dynamics, how the recipient nations intend to use the equipment and the ability of an EDA recipient to sustain the equipment. Final determinations of EDA are still being made," it said.

The statement said the military equipment that has been determined to be rendered surplus can be made available through the worldwide excess defence articles (EDA) programme, which is open to all eligible countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The US Defence Department manages the process for identifying recipients for excess defence articles with State Department approval, it added.

"This equipment will not be brought back with US forces from Afghanistan as they will be redeployed elsewhere," the statement concluded.

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