Report: US releases financial aid to Pakistan after supply routes reopened

Over half of that U.S. aid, or $1.5 billion, will be distributed to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund, according to reports by Stars and Stripes

{mosads}A portion of the remaining $1 billion in fiscal aid will be sent to Pakistan as part of the Pentagon’s foreign military financing program. 

The rest of the money will be handed over as part of mandated included in the The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, co-sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), according to the report. 

The first payouts are scheduled to begin this month, Pakistani news outlet Dawn reported on Thursday, citing a government official. The official could not comment on how much that initial payment will be. 

The decision by Washington to release the funds comes two days after Pakistani leaders allowed access to key supply lines in the country to U.S. and coalition forces stationed in Afghanistan. 

Islamabad shut down the supply lines last November after an errant airstrike by U.S. and NATO warplanes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. 

The Pakistani supply routes had been critical waypoint for U.S. and coalition forces, which have been moving weapons, equipment and personnel through the country since the Afghanistan war began in 2001.

The loss of the direct supply routes had cost the United States roughly $100 million per month, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. 

The lines were reopened following a rare public apology from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In a phone conversation on Tuesday, Clinton apologized to Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for last November’s airstrike. 

“We are both sorry for losses suffered by both our countries in this fight against terrorists,” Clinton said in a statement.

While the White House and the Pentagon have repeatedly expressed their regret for the air raid, no one from the Obama administration had formally or informally apologized for the attack until Tuesday.

While U.S. funding has begun to flow back into Pakistan, it remains unclear whether Washington will reinstate $33 million in foreign aid sidelined by Congress in May.

Lawmakers opted to cut those funds to Pakistan in protest of Islamabad’s decision to jail a doctor for 33 years who assisted the CIA in locating Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan. 

Members decided to slash $1 million in foreign aid to Pakistan for every year the doctor was incarcerated, resulting in the $33 million total reduction. 

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