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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 190-06
March 04, 2006

Defense Department Statement on Pakistan Partnership

The defense relationship between the United States and Pakistan is a critical element of the War on Terror, and a key component of the security and stability of South Asia.  Since 2001, the United States and Pakistan have worked to build a strong and enduring defense relationship which supports our common interests in fighting the War on Terror, building a stable and democratic Afghanistan, and maintaining peace and stability in the region.

Pakistan is a key partner in the War on Terror.  Pakistan supports U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and roots out terrorists and their allies in the border region.  Pakistan’s military and security services have conducted operations in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region, and have killed or captured hundreds of terrorists.  Pakistan’s military is also playing an important role providing intelligence and support to Coalition forces operating on the Afghanistan side of the border.

The United States is committed to a long-term partnership with Pakistan.  Pakistan currently is one of the largest recipients of U.S. security assistance.  The United States has pledged $1.5 billion of Foreign Military Financing to Pakistan from 2005-2009.   In June 2004, President Bush designated Pakistan as a Major Non-NATO Ally.  The United States supports Pakistan’s defense needs through sales of advanced systems (recent sales include TOW 2A missiles, P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, AH-1 Cobra Helicopters, and Harpoon missiles).  Last year, the President also announced the U.S. intention to move forward with the possible sale of F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan.  These commitments are a clear signal that the U.S. is determined to stand by Pakistan for the long run, to support Pakistan’s capabilities in the War on Terror, as well as to meet other legitimate defense needs.

The strength of U.S.-Pakistan ties was also reflected in the immediate U.S. response to Pakistan’s call for assistance following the Oct. 8th earthquake.  To date, the United States has pledged $110 million in military support for earthquake relief operations, including providing airlift, logistics support, road-clearing, and medical treatment.  The U.S. military has also transferred approximately $8 million in medical, engineering, and flight-refueling assets to the Government of Pakistan to continue assisting those affected by the earthquake.  Pakistani and U.S. troops have worked side by side coordinating extensive relief operations.

The United States and Pakistan will continue to strengthen our defense relationship in the future.  The U.S.-Pakistan Defense Consultative Group is a key forum for overseeing and developing the relationship.  The 17th annual Defense Consultative Group is scheduled to meet in May 2006.