Washington, Jul 10: In a move that could further strain the US-Pak ties, the Obama administration is suspending and, in some cases, cancelling millions of dollars of aid to the Pakistani military to chasten it for expelling American military trainers, a media report said today.
“About USD 800 million in military aid and equipment, or over one-third of the more than USD 2 billion in annual American security assistance to Pakistan, could be affected,” the New York Times reported.
This aid includes about USD 300 million to reimburse Pakistan for some of the costs of deploying more than 100,000 soldiers along the Afghan border to combat terrorism, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in training assistance and military hardware, the paper said quoting half a dozen Congressional, Pentagon and other administration officials.
The move illustrates the depth of the debate inside the Obama administration over how to change the behaviour of one of its key counter-terrorism partners, the NYT said. The news of halting or withdrawal of aid comes days after US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen's remarks linking Pakistan government to the murder of a journalist. Some of the curtailed aid is equipment that the US wants to send but Pakistan now refuses to accept, like rifles, ammunition, body armour and bomb-disposal gear that were withdrawn or held up after Pakistan ordered more than 100 Army Special Forces trainers to leave the country in recent weeks.
Some is equipment, such as radios, night-vision goggles and helicopter spare parts, which cannot be set up, certified or used for training because Pakistan has denied visas to the American personnel needed to operate the equipment, two senior Pentagon officials said, the paper added. PTI