U.S. Military: Sorry, Pakistan. You Won’t Get Our Extra Equipment.

The U.S. is stressing its support for Afghanistan, which opposed the reported move.

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 8: Afghan National Army recruits take part in a training exercise, on August 8, 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Reports suggest that the US are keen to speed up the process of turning over security to Afghanistan's police and military from July 2011. NATO hopes to increase the Afghan National Army to aproximately 170,000 by October 2011 and the Afghan National Police up to 134,000 officers during the same period. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)
National Journal
Sara Sorcher
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Sara Sorcher
March 27, 2014, 8:11 a.m.

The U.S. mil­it­ary is deny­ing what it calls “in­ac­cur­ate me­dia re­ports” that ar­mored vehicles and ex­tra mil­it­ary equip­ment leftover from the war in Afgh­anistan could be provided to neigh­bor­ing Pakistan — after Ka­bul op­posed the move de­scribed in the press.

“These re­ports are not cor­rect,” the mil­it­ary said in a state­ment Thursday. The U.S. mil­it­ary in Afgh­anistan “does not provide or in­tend to provide any such equip­ment, in­clud­ing MRAPs, from Afgh­anistan to Pakistan.”

The mil­it­ary is try­ing to get rid of equip­ment it does not want or need — and would be ex­pens­ive to trans­port home — as its draws down troops in Afgh­anistan. The Wash­ing­ton Post re­por­ted earli­er this month that the Pentagon was con­sid­er­ing giv­ing Pakistan some of the $7 bil­lion worth of ex­cess mil­it­ary equip­ment, and that Is­lamabad was par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in the Army’s mine-res­ist­ant am­bush-pro­tec­ted vehicles, or MRAPs.

But the Afghan gov­ern­ment had op­posed this move. “Afghan se­cur­ity forces need this type of equip­ment and that as a stra­tegic part­ner, the U.S. needs to con­sult with Afgh­anistan be­fore mak­ing such a de­cision,” a spokes­man for Afghan Pres­id­ent Ham­id Kar­zai told Voice of Amer­ica’s Afghan ser­vice.

The U.S. is still wait­ing for Afgh­anistan to sign a se­cur­ity agree­ment that could al­low a con­tin­gent of troops to re­main in the coun­try past the end of the year — the dead­line for the end of form­al com­bat op­er­a­tions. Since the fu­ture part­ner­ship between the two coun­tries is in limbo un­til the agree­ment is signed, it’s no sur­prise the U.S. is seek­ing to re­as­sure Afgh­anistan’s se­cur­ity forces of its sup­port as it waits for a new Afghan pres­id­ent to be elec­ted this spring.

“Our com­mit­ment to the Afghan people and the Afghan Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Forces is un­waver­ing,” Gen. Joseph Dun­ford, who com­mands the U.S.-led co­ali­tion in Afgh­anistan, said in the state­ment. The U.S. mil­it­ary “re­mains com­mit­ted to com­plet­ing the trans­form­a­tion of the [Afghan Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Forces] in­to a pro­fes­sion­al fight­ing force cap­able of meet­ing their se­cur­ity chal­lenges.”

The mil­it­ary state­ment also ran through a laun­dry list of equip­ment the U.S. has giv­en Afgh­anistan’s se­cur­ity forces. Over 12 years, the U.S. has provided $53 bil­lion in equip­ment and sup­port; 160 air­craft; 100,000 vehicles; 500,000 weapons; and 200,000 pieces of com­mu­nic­a­tions and night-vis­ion equip­ment, with more still be­ing de­livered.

Wheth­er Afgh­anistan’s wor­ries are eased or not, Pakistan is not likely to re­act well. The U.S. is count­ing on Pakistan to crack down on mil­it­ants with­in its bor­ders after this year. Is­lamabad, which has de­ployed some 150,000 sol­diers along the bor­der with Afgh­anistan, wanted the ar­mored vehicles to bet­ter pro­tect its troops from road­side bombs.

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