Dempsey for Pak aid cut; Pentagon says no comment
Washington: The Pentagon on Tuesday refrained from commenting on Gen Martin Dempsey`s support for the Senate Committee`s move to cut aid to Pakistan for sentencing a doctor that helped CIA trace Osama, but said that the US is very concerned about the medic.
"I`m not going to comment on pending legislation, but what I can say is that we are very concerned about this doctor, who played a role in the hunt for Osama bin Laden," Pentagon Press Secretary, George Little, told reporters, at a news conference.
"I would make the point crystal-clear yet again, and that is that he was not directing his efforts against Pakistan. He was directing his efforts in support of the United States against al Qaeda. And there`s a clear distinction," he said.
"I`m not going to comment on discussions that are going in the US Congress at this point. That`s a matter for the Congress to weigh, and I wouldn`t offer a position of the department at this time," he said.
Little was responding to questions on the remarks made by Dempsey, the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Dempsey, responding to a question in an NBC news channel interview that whether he supports last week`s Senate decision to withdraw some funding from Pakistan, said, "Yeah, I support their decision -- I think that choices should result in consequences. And I think the Senate acted appropriately”.
"I`m not going to parse what General Dempsey said. I think he was very clear in his interview in expressing concern about various issues relating to the Pakistani relationship," Little said.
"He`s also said at various points in his public comments that we believe that we need to work through these issues with the Pakistanis," Little added.
"There are a number of issues, even as we continue to collaborate with them, that require us to engage aggressively to try to put this relationship back on track," he added.
When it comes to Shakil Afridi, the doctor who helped CIA trace Osama, the Pentagon Press Secretary said the top Pentagon leadership has made the position of the US government known, and the Pakistanis are well aware of its concerns.
"Again, this is someone who was supporting efforts to pursue the world`s top terrorist. He was not stealing Pakistani secrets. He was helping the United States go after Osama bin Laden," Little said.
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