US retains options to halt military aid to Pak: Report
US expects Pak to expedite efforts in uprooting militancy in N Waziristan.
Lahore: While the United States has not attached any conditions to its USD 2 billion military aid package for Pakistan, it does expect Islamabad to expedite its efforts in uprooting militancy in North Waziristan.
According to diplomatic sources, during the latest round of strategic dialogue that concluded last Friday, the US accepted Pakistan’s position that it did not have enough troops or resources to launch a major offensive in North Waziristan as per Washington’s demands, the Dawn reported.
In return, Pakistan agreed to increase its pressure on the militants hiding in the country’s tribal belt by carrying out more targeted operations at militant hideouts in the region, the sources said.
There will be no US participation in the operations, as US-trained special operations units of the Pakistani Army will conduct them.
During the talks, the US made it obvious to Pakistan that even though it had attached no conditions to the package, it retained various options to reduce or even halt aid if its expectations were not met.
As a small demonstration of various legal options available to the US administration, Washington barred half a dozens Pakistani army units from receiving any US assistance for allegedly carrying out extrajudicial killings during the Swat operation.
At a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also acknowledged that Pakistan and the US still had differences with each other.
“We are two different countries. We have two different traditions. We have two different histories. That does not mean we’re going to agree on everything, but it means, as you do with friends, that you don’t jump to conclusions,” she said.
And the unresolved issues that both Qureshi and Hillary referred to include Pakistan’s desire to acquire civilian nuclear technology from the US as it is offering to India. Hillary acknowledged that the issue was discussed but Washington apparently refused to accommodate Islamabad’s request.
In another setback to the country, the US also refused to get involved in resolving the Kashmir dispute, advising Pakistan to discuss the issue directly with India.