Pakistan’s PM Concerned Over US Aid Cut

Posted July 13th, 2011 at 5:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has expressed concern about the U.S. decision to suspend $800 million in military aid to his country.

Gilani said Wednesday that while the fight against militants on Pakistani territory is Pakistan's war, the country's efforts are benefiting the whole world.

His comments came as Pakistan's intelligence chief, Ahmad Shuja Pasha, left for Washington for talks with senior U.S. officials, and the top U.S. commander for troops in the region, General James Mattis, met with military officials in Pakistan.

The U.S. embassy in Islamabad said Mattis' meetings included one with Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Relations between the two sides have been strained since the covert U.S. raid deep into Pakistani territory that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden on May 2. The Pakistani government has faced embarrassment over the raid at home and criticism abroad that someone within the government might have known about bin Laden's location.

A Pentagon spokesman said earlier this week the decision to withhold a third of its military aid to Pakistan is in response to Islamabad's decision to expel American military trainers and put limits on visas for U.S. personnel.

Some Pakistani officials have warned that they might recall troops fighting along the Afghan border. But the country's military spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, told VOA that a reduction of U.S. aid would not hamper anti-terrorism operations. He stressed that defeating terrorism is in the interest of both countries, but he also warned that aid with conditions is unacceptable.