Pakistan has criticized a U.S. decision to suspend $800 million in military aid to the country, but said it will not affect its operations against Islamist militants.
In an interview with VOA Monday, Pakistani military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said that aid with conditions is unacceptable. He said the military is conducting its operations in the country's tribal region without external support, using its own equipment, ammunition and other resources to fight al-Qaida and Taliban militants. General Abbas added that terrorism threatens both Pakistan and the United States, and that defeating the common enemy is in the interest of both countries, as well as the rest of the world.
In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan said the “hold” on funds was directly tied to those decisions by the Pakistani military to expel American military trainers and put limits on visas for U.S. personnel.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States is not prepared to continue providing military aid to Pakistan at the pace it has been provided. She added that civilian assistance to Pakistan remains unchanged.
Ties between Washington and Islamabad have been deteriorating since the raid by U.S. special forces that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in northern Pakistan May 2.
Some analysts say the suspension in aid will make the situation even worse.
Former Pakistani ambassador to Washington, Maleeha Lodhi, said such punitive actions by the United States may not be productive in the long run. Lodhi said the two countries need to find enough common ground to pursue their shared objectives, instead of taking steps that hurt any gains that have already been made in the joint war against terrorism.