ISLAMABAD (Online) - Despite being a key ally in the war against terrorism in which Pakistan have rendered innumerable sacrifices, the United States is extending military assistance to Islamabad under strict conditions and stipulations, reflecting the nature of relations between the two countries.
According to sources, Washington will deliver 18 F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan Air Force (PAF) by the end of this month under a series of conditions including an assurance from Pakistan that aircraft would not be used in any conflict with India.
During last week’s strategic dialogue between India and the US, the Indian leaders had conveyed to their counterparts in Washington their concerns over the US military assistance to Pakistan. Besides assuring Indian side, Washington for the first time came out open to state that it was taking steps to ensure that its military aid to Pakistan would not be used against India.
Sources said the US Air Force engineers would accompany the delivery of the F-16s and supervise not only the airbase but also the operations to be carried out by the PAF against Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Though the PAF pilots will fly the jets, the logistics, management and control is stated to remain with the US engineers.
Sources said the Block 50/52 Model F-16 jets equipped with latest missiles would land at Shahbaz Airbase in Jacoabad.
It is said that around US$500 million were spent to upgrade the airbase to make it conducive to the new F-16s.