ISLAMABAD - The United States said on Monday that it is reviewing Pakistan's request for Excess Defence Articles (EDA) programme, adding that if approved, this EDA is to be sourced from US stock in Afghanistan as its troops withdraw.
Excess defense articles are military equipment owned by Department of Defense (DoD) and US Coast Guard that are no longer needed and declared excess by the US Armed Forces. This excess equipment is offered at reduced or no cost to eligible foreign recipients in support of US national security and foreign policy objectives.
Secretary of Defence Lt-Gen (r) Asif Yasin Malik told media today that Pakistan would decide about the matter only after going through the equipment. However, he did confirm that Pakistan would be receiving the US leftover military hardware after the completion of withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan later this year.
Earlier the US Embassy in a statement said that military equipment that has been determined to be excess could be made available through the worldwide excess defense articles (EDA) program, which is open to all eligible countries, including Afghanistan and Pakistan. "This equipment will not be brought back with US forces from Afghanistan as they redeploy elsewhere", the statement added.
It said that the US assists Pakistan through many security cooperation programs to build partnership capacity. Pakistan has requested a variety of excess defense articles. The US is currently reviewing Pakistan's request. The Department of Defense manages the process for identifying recipients for EDA with State Department approval.
The statement further said that the decisions of who receives EDA are made on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration a range of factors including the need of potential recipients, regional security dynamics, how the recipient nations intend to use the equipment and the ability of an EDA recipient to sustain the equipment. Final determinations of EDA are still being made.
Earlier, a statement issued by the US-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) had said the "United States Forces-Afghanistan does not provide or intend to provide any such equipment, including MRAPs (mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles), from Afghanistan to Pakistan". Isaf commander Gen Joseph Dunford had stated: "Our commitment to the Afghan people and the Afghan National Security Forces is unwavering."
The statement had followed uproar in Afghanistan over reports that the US had planned to transfer some of its excess equipment to Pakistan. Reports about the transfer of equipment had hit headlines after a testimony by Gen Dunford before the US Senate Armed Service Committee in which he had said that the US was planning to give 1,200 MRAP vehicles to Pakistan, Afghanistan and other allies.
There are around 1,600 such vehicles in Afghanistan. "We're in the process right now of seeing if there are any of our allies that can use those vehicles...I've put a stop on any destruction of any vehicles except those that are battle-damaged," Gen Dunford had told the panel.
The US had been offering the equipment free of cost to its allies, which would have been required only to pay for its transportation. About 20 countries, including Pakistan, had initially expressed interest in getting MRAP vehicles, but many backed out because of huge cost of transportation involved. Because of continuing militancy and common borders with Afghanistan, Pakistan was considered the most potential candidate for the vehicles along with Afghanistan itself.