Pakistan Criticizes Proposed US Aid Freeze as ‘Wrong’

Posted December 15th, 2011 at 11:20 am (UTC-5)
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The Pakistani government has criticized a proposed U.S. law that would freeze $700 million in aid in order to pressure Islamabad to stop bomb-making materials from reaching neighboring Afghanistan and being used against U.S. troops.

Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said Thursday the bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives a day earlier is “wrong” because it is “not based on facts and takes a narrow view of the overall situation.” The Senate is expected to vote on the measure later Thursday.

The bill would freeze the U.S. aid until the Obama administration verifies that Pakistan has made progress in stopping fertilizer and other materials used to make roadside bombs from reaching Taliban insurgents who attack American soldiers in Afghanistan.

Basit said Pakistan cannot be held responsible for “weaknesses and loopholes” in Afghanistan. He said the “real question” is what measures are taken on the Afghan side of the border.

A months-long crisis in U.S.-Pakistani relations intensified after a November 26 NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani troops along the Pakistani-Afghan border. U.S.-led NATO forces said the airstrike was aimed at militants and denied Pakistani accusations that the soldiers were attacked deliberately.

Pakistan says it is reviewing its rules of engagement with NATO in response to the incident. A Pakistani government committee also is drafting proposals to tax all NATO deliveries of supplies to landlocked Afghanistan through Pakistani territory. Pakistan has blocked the deliveries since the NATO airstrike.

Previously, NATO supply convoys were exempt from Pakistani transit fees.