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Cost of War

by AFP
Aamir Qureshi—AFP

Aamir Qureshi—AFP

Pakistan’s ‘war on terror’ has cost $118bn, says State Bank.

The “war on terror” has cost Pakistan a whopping $118 billion so far, a new central bank report has said, an amount equivalent to well over one third of the country’s gross domestic product.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) released its annual report on Thursday, showing extremist violence had cost the country $118.3 billion in direct and indirect losses from 2002 to 2016. “Both economic growth and social sector development have been severely hampered by terrorism related incidents,” the bank said in the report.

Pakistan became a pivotal U.S. ally in the battle against extremism after the September 11, 2001 attacks spurred the U.S. invasion of neighboring Afghanistan. A Coalition Support Fund (CSF) was approved by the U.S. to support Pakistan in the war, with an annual release of around $1 billion since 2002. By last year Pakistan had received a total of $14 billion under the CSF.

The country has also been waging a fight against homegrown Islamist insurgents since at least 2004.

The bank said that apart from causing immeasurable human suffering, including casualties and mass displacement, the war had helped drive away foreign investment, stall domestic investment, freeze exports, and slow down trade.

Pakistan has carried out major military offensives against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in its border tribal regions that have sapped their strength, with overall levels of militant violence dropping drastically in 2015 and 2016. The economy, meanwhile, is improving, with the IMF saying in October that the country has emerged from crisis and stabilized its economy after completing a bailout program.

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