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Congress Q&A: War on terror

"How much has the war on terror cost?"

Congress Q&A
While it is difficult to say at this time what the cost of tracking down and killing bin Laden was, there are several estimates available regarding the total cost of the “war on terror.”
According to the Congressional Research Service, as of mid-March, Congress had approved $1.283 trillion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
The operations include Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and other counter-terrorism operations; Operation Noble Eagle for enhanced security at military bases; and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Of course, this figure does not include the specific funding for CIA and Special Forces operations.
“What is our relationship with Pakistan? How much aid do they receive from the U.S.?”
Pakistan is one of the top recipients of U.S. foreign aid, receiving an estimated $1.8 billion in fiscal 2010, third only to Afghanistan and Israel.
The country’s position as one of the chief recipients of U.S. developed post-Sept. 11, as its close proximity to Afghanistan played a role in making it a key ally in the war on terror despite continued tensions and some distrust between the U.S. and Pakistan.
The Obama administration requested almost $3.1 billion for Pakistan in fiscal 2011 and has requested nearly $3 billion for fiscal 2012.
U.S. aid to Pakistan includes significant funding aimed at improving the capabilities of Pakistan’s security forces and the capacity of the Pakistani government on the whole. Pakistan is also eligible to receive funding for its military through the Coalitions Support Funds through the Department of Defense.
As part of the fiscal 2011 appropriations measure enacted in April, $800 million was provided for a fund similar to the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability fund, which provides security assistance.
Pakistan also receives economic aid, aimed at supporting infrastructure and economic development projects with the goal of reducing the appeal of extremism.
Congress passed legislation in the fall of 2009 authorizing $7.5 billion over five years in economic and development aid to Pakistan and the country is seen as key to the war in Afghanistan and the broader war on terrorism.
Many members of Congress and other American leaders have expressed uncertainty regarding the U.S.’s relationship with Pakistan, especially given the indication that Osama bin Laden has been hiding there for several years.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said he wants more information about Pakistan’s commitment to the fight against terrorism given the discovery of bin Laden’s residence near Pakistan’s capital and an adjacent Pakistani military installation.
“The United States provides billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan,” Lautenberg said. “Before we send another dime, we need to know whether Pakistan truly stands with us in the fight against terrorism.”
Obama attempted to quell some of these concerns on Sunday evening, saying, “it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding.”
“Going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda,” he added.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on “U.S. policy and its limits in Pakistan” on Thursday.
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