Battleland

Pakistanis, Indians, and the U.S. Taxpayer

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Pakistan, you may have heard, is finding it challenging to battle the friendly (to them) Taliban forces on its soil that only cross into Afghanistan to kill U.S. troops (the Pakistanis have no compunction about killing the other Taliban — those trying to topple the government in Islamabad). So it was interesting to see the Government Accountability Office release a report Tuesday with a chart detailing just what kinds of weapons U.S. taxpayers have been giving — giving, not selling — the Pakistani government since 2002.

None of the big-ticket items — F-16 jet improvements, maritime patrol aircraft, a frigate, anti-tank missiles and launchers, self-propelled howitzers — would seem to have much application in anti-Taliban warfare. But they might come in handy for the war against India that Pakistan is forever predicting. Just don’t understand why we’re footing the bill.

Update: Reader Joe Katzman notes that some of these items are what you might call “dual-use” technologies. In the old days, that meant they had both military and civilian applications. Today, it might mean they can be used for two kinds of warfare. He points out that, among other things, maritime aircraft are being used over land to track bad guys, and that anti-tank missiles work against caves as well.

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