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US Congress passes budget including $5b for Afghan forces

US Congress passes budget including $5b for Afghan forces

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Nov 17, 2017 - 13:48

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The United States Congress on Thursday passed a $700 billion annual defense budget, authorising $4.9 billion for the Afghanistaninfo-icon Security Forces Fund.

This also includes $1.7 billion to advance the capabilities of the Afghan Air Force and $41 million to support the recruitment, training and integration of womeninfo-icon into the Afghan forces.

Passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate, NDAA-2018 now heads to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign it into law.

NDA-2018 also authorises 3,500 visas for individuals who are eligible for special immigrant status under the Afghan Allies Protection Act.

It allows $700 million in Coalition Support Funding for reimbursement to Pakistaninfo-icon for activities carried out in support of US operations in Afghanistan.

It directs the Secretary of Defense to develop a strategy for strengthening defense cooperation between the United States and India.

The conference report which was passed along with NDAA 2018 says the US and India should work closely with Afghanistan to promote stability in the region to include targeted infrastructure development and economic investment, means to address capability gaps in country, and improved humanitarian and disaster relief assistance.

 

Payment of $350.0 million to Pakistan under CSF will be contingent upon certification from the secretary of defense that Islamabad is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Networkinfo-icon.

Over the last two years, two successive defense secretaries -- Ashton Carter and \Jim Mattis -- refused to give this certification in the absence of Islamabad taking demonstrable actions against the group.

An accompanying conference report passed by the House and the Senate notes action on the part of Pakistan against Lashkar-e-Taiba, as well as other terrorist groups operating within the borders of Pakistan, remains a priority for the US.

mud

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