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Obama approves $ 3.4b fund for Afghan forces

AT-KABUL: The US President Barack Obama approved $ 3.4 billion annual defense budget for Afghan security forces under – the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2017.

In addition to that, announced $ 400 $ 900 million funds to Pakistan in a condition on a defense Secretary Certification that is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network.

The funds to preserve the gains of the last 15 years and continue to degrade and defeat terrorist organizations with transnational operational reach and intent to harm US national security interests, senate armed services committee said in a statement.

It also extends the Afghanistan Special Immigrant Visa program for translators and other Afghans performing sensitive and trusted activities in support of the US Government mission who were threatened by reprisal from the Taliban, the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, and other extremist groups.

“(It) refocuses security assistance to Pakistan on activities that directly support US national security interests and conditions a significant portion of funding on a certification from the Secretary of Defense that Pakistan is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network in Pakistani territory,” the statement said.

It added that the NDAA imposes four conditions on Pakistan to be eligible for $400 million of the $900 million of the coalition support fund (CSF). The US Defense Secretary needed to certify to the Congress that Pakistan continued to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly disrupting the safe haven and freedom of movement of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan and that Pakistan has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani Network from using any of its territory as a safe haven.

Earlier, the US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter refused to give a similar certification to Pakistan this year as a result of which it was not given a $ 300 million under coalition support fund.

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