Pakistan's recent success against
the Taliban, along the Afghan border, is
partially the result of their using dozens of helicopters. Two dozen U.S. AH-1F
gunships and even more Russian Mi-17 transports have been used heavily. The
Pakistani offensive began earlier this year, and one of the first things they
had to do was halt the theft of the money the U.S. was providing for the
maintenance of those helicopters. Over $7 million a month is provided, along
with some American technical experts, to maintain the helicopters. But for over
two years, most of that money was stolen by politicians and army commanders,
and the helicopters spent much of their time on the ground. But when the order
came down to go after the Taliban, the word went out to leave the helicopter
maintenance money (or at least most of it) alone so the birds could be made
ready to join the fight.
has long been a major problem in Pakistan. Even in the military, the most
disciplined organization in the country, taking a little (or a lot) off the top
is an accepted way of doing business. But when there is a major threat, the
stealing can stop, or at least abate, for a while.
Pakistani government promises to clean up corruption, but none ever has. Often
the new guys will throw some of their predecessors in jail, or even execute a
few, but then it's business as usual. The current new government has made more
noise about stopping terrorism, so one can assume that the theft will continue.