KARACHI: Pakistan on Tuesday received some $336 million from the United States for its ongoing role in combating a Taliban insurgency in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The injection of cash, which comes as the Taliban steps up its annual summer offensive launched in late April, has helped Pakistan´s foreign exchange reserves reach a fresh high of about $19 billion, state bank officials said.
Regular payments to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) programme began in 2001 when Pakistan joined the US-led coalition in Afghanistan as a “frontline ally”.
Pakistan provides use of its air bases and other facilities in exchange for the reimbursements.
The central State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in a one-line press note said it had received a total of $336.8 million under the CSF programme, which is the first tranche of a $1.5 billion for the current fiscal year ending June 2016.
Pakistan has received a total of $13 billion in CSF payments since the programme began.
US-led NATO forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan in December, leaving local forces to battle militants alone, but a 13,000-strong residual force remains for training and counter-terrorism operations.
The Afghan government meanwhile conducted its first face-to-face talks with Taliban cadres on July 7 in a Pakistani hill station, aimed at ending the 14-year insurgency.
But despite the willingness to engage in talks there has been no let-up in militant attacks, which are taking a heavy toll on civilians.
Almost 1,000 civilians were killed in the conflict during the first four months of this year, a sharp jump from the same period last year, according to the United Nations.