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U.S. Halts Plan To Provide Pakistan Loans To Purchase Fighter Jets

A Turksh F-16 C Blok-40 fighter jet
A Turksh F-16 C Blok-40 fighter jet

The United States has halted financial aid to Pakistan to help purchase U.S. F-16 fighter jets after members of the U.S. Congress objected.

The congressional opposition means that funds from the U.S. government's Foreign Military Financing allocation cannot be used as planned to purchase the aircraft, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said on May 2.

The Obama administration approved the sale of up to eight F-16 fighter jets in February and was planning to provide loans for the deal valued at $699 million.

However, Republican Senator Bob Corker said he would use his power as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to bar any U.S. subsidies to send Pakistan a message that it needs to do more in the war against terrorism.

Corker's stance reflected unhappiness in Congress that Pakistan supports or tolerates militant groups that target Afghans and Americans, while it has done little to help foster peace in Afghanistan.

The aid denial prompted Syed Tariq Fatemi, special assistant to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to complain to U.S. legislators visiting Islamabad on May 2 that Congress "lacks sufficient appreciation for Pakistan's wholehearted efforts" to fight terrorism.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Xinhua