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Pentagon seeks to 're-programme' defense budget as Pak route cut-off costs billions

Islamabad, Tue, 03 Jul 2012 ANI

Islamabad, July 3 (ANI): The United States Department of Defense has requested the Obama administration to shift billions of dollars in the defense budget to pay for increased fuel costs to ferry supplies to Afghanistan after Pakistan closed its border to NATO convoys.

According to US officials, in a letter to congressional defence committees, the Pentagon requested "reprogramming" 8.2 billion dollars in funds previously approved to finance more urgent priorities.

"There were some unanticipated costs that we just didn't foresee," The Dawn quoted spokesman Captain John Kirby, as saying.

According to the paper, it remained unclear what programs in the defense budget would receive less funding as a result.

Kirby said that a large portion of the request was due to the costs "associated with the extended closure of the ground lines of communication" in Pakistan.

In November last year, Pakistan closed its border to NATO supply convoys bound for Afghanistan following a US air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

The Pentagon reportedly estimates an alternative network of northern supply routes through Central Asia has generated 2.1 billion dollars in additional fuel costs compared to the shorter Pakistani route.

According to the paper, the request to shift funds was also needed to cover the cost of deploying an additional aircraft carrier to the Gulf region. (ANI)

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