Pakistan: US Aid Suspension Will Not Affect Military Operations

Posted July 11th, 2011 at 2:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Pakistan says a U.S. decision to suspend $800 million in military aid to the country will not affect its operations against Islamist militants.

In an interview with VOA Monday, Pakistani military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas says the military is conducting its operations in the country's tribal region without external support. He says the Pakistani military is using its own equipment, ammunition and other resources to fight al-Qaida and Taliban militants along the Afghan border.

Abbas also criticized the U.S. decision, telling VOA that providing aid with conditions is unacceptable.

On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff William Daley told ABC's This Week that the United States has decided to suspend the multi-million-dollar military aid package to Pakistan.

Daley said Pakistan has been an important ally in the fight against terrorism, but it has taken some steps that have given Washington reason to withhold some of the military aid. He did not elaborate.

U.S. officials say the move is a response to Pakistan's decision to expel American military trainers and put limits on visas for U.S. personnel.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday that 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 frayed since the raid by U.S. special forces that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in northern Pakistan on May 2.

Nuland told reporters that Pakistan needs to improve cooperation in counterterrorism and that the U.S. is engaging with Pakistan at the highest levels in order to seek a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship.

Last week, Admiral Mullen sparked a controversy when he commented on the murder of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad, who was beaten to death in May. Mullen said that while he could not tie the killing to any specific Pakistani agency, he had not seen any evidence to counter reports that the government approved the murder.

Islamabad denounced his comments as “extremely irresponsible and unfortunate.”