A USD 450 million F-16 fleet sustainment program for Pakistan has been approved by the Joe Biden-led US administration, overturning a Trump-era directive that had banned security assistance to Islamabad. A senior US diplomat, however, claimed that the US government was not involved and that it was simply a sale of spare parts to Pakistan for its existing F-16 aircraft.

According to Donald Lu, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, the US government’s global policy is to support the defense equipment it lends to a nation throughout the duration of that system. Donald Lu stated, Pakistan is not getting any new weapons systems or capabilities through this initiative.

According to Donald Lu, Pakistan’s F-16 fighter aircraft fleet consists of relatively aged aircraft. Some of these aircraft are almost 40 years old, and he warned that without such support, they could pose a threat to the pilots and others. Due to Pakistan’s failure to repress terrorist organizations like the Taliban and the Haqqani Network and destroy their safe havens there, then-US President Donald Trump withheld nearly USD 2 billion in security funding to Pakistan in 2018.

On Ukraine

Donald Lu remarked that although India and the US “don’t exactly see eye to eye occasionally” on the Ukraine crisis, both nations share a core conviction that the conflict needs to end soon. Also, he was commenting on India’s neutral stance on the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Donald Lu remarked, Housing and harboring terrorists like Ayman al-Zawahiri is only proof to the world that the Taliban has badly breached its pledges under the Doha deal. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul.

Regarding Pakistan, Donald Lu claimed that the nation is aware of the threat posed by Afghanistan. Further, Pakistan has started conducting airstrikes against the TTP. As well, lives have been lost. As a result, he argued, Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban is complicated.

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