Washington: In Washington’s first major security assistance to Islamabad in four years, the US has approved a $450 million F-16 fighter jet fleet sustainment programme to Pakistan to help it meet current and future counterterrorism threats.
The state department has argued that the move will sustain Islamabad’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet.
The Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had in 2018, suspended about $2 billion in security aid to Islamabad for failing to clamp down on the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network terror groups and dismantle their safe havens in the country.
The State Department in a notification to the US Congress on Wednesday said that it has approved a possible foreign military sale of F-16 case for sustainment and related equipment for an estimated cost of $450 million.
“The United States Government has notified Congress of a proposed Foreign Military Sales case to sustain the Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 programme. Pakistan is an important counterterrorism partner, and as part of longstanding policy, the United States provides life cycle maintenance and sustainment packages for US-origin platforms,” a State Department spokesperson said.
“Pakistan’s F-16 programme is an important part of the broader United States-Pakistan bilateral relationship. The proposed sale will sustain Pakistan’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats by maintaining its F-16 fleet. The F-16 fleet allows Pakistan to support counterterrorism operations and we expect Pakistan to take sustained action against all terrorist groups,” the spokesperson said.