By Shaheen Sehbai
WASHINGTON: The US Central Command (Centcom) has provided startling official data of what General Pervez Musharraf’s Pakistan did for the US in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) against Afghanistan, allowing 57,800 US air attacks from Pak soil with the Pakistan economy suffering a staggering loss of US$ 10 billion.
05/19/03: (South Asia Tribune) This is the first official estimate of losses suffered by Pakistan, given by the US military high command and analysts say these figures could now be used extensively by the anti-American political forces in Pakistan to pressurize General Pervez Musharraf and his Government to explain his Taliban U-Turn and justify what Pakistan received in return.
With the upcoming visit of General Musharraf to the White House in Washington, or to Camp David in Maryland, as some Pakistani diplomats are now trying, this data will strengthen his case for more US aid as the Afghan situation has not yet fully settled as envisaged by the US. Pakistan’s strategic and military help is still a key factor in containing the anti-US elements.
The Centcom figures are far in excess of what Pakistani Government officials and experts have been claiming, the highest claim being US$ 2-3 billion. In contrast, what the US has offered to Pakistan so far, a US$ 1 billion write-off of loans, looks like as spoon of tomato ketchup in place of a full fledged state banquet.
“This is a goldmine of political ammunition for the religious right wing forces, like the MMA, to blast the US and the Musharraf Government,” one analyst said.
These figures have been revealed in a detailed review of Pakistan’s role in the operation and are specifically mentioned under the title “Effects of Operation Enduring Freedom on Economy of Pakistan” at the US Centcom web site, a huge resource about the US and coalition activities under the Command. Continue reading →