US `to boost` military aid to Pakistan

Some US officials feel Pakistan is not doing enough to combat militants.

Washington: The United States will provide Pakistan with more military, intelligence and economic aid, even though some officials feel it is not doing enough to combat militants, The Washington Post reported.

The newspaper said Vice President Joseph Biden would take that message to Pakistan when he visits next week.

The report came as a barrage of US missiles killed up to five militants in Pakistan`s North Waziristan tribal district on Friday, destroying a vehicle used by Islamist fighters, security officials said.

Pakistani security officials reported the strikes in what is reputedly the country`s most impregnable Taliban and al Qaeda fortress.

US officials want Pakistan to launch a ground offensive there to eliminate the militant threat.

The United States does not confirm drone attacks, but its military and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the unmanned aircraft in the region.

In 2010, the campaign doubled missile attacks in the tribal area, with around 100 drone strikes that have killed more than 650 people, according to a tally.

Pakistan tacitly cooperates with the bombing campaign, which US officials say has severely weakened al Qaeda`s leadership.

But it has stalled on launching a ground offensive in North Waziristan, saying its troops are overstretched.

According to The Post, Biden will challenge Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Kayani and other Pakistani officials to articulate their long-term strategy for the region.

He will want them to indicate exactly what assistance is needed for them to move against Taliban sanctuaries in areas bordering Afghanistan.

But US President Barack Obama and his top national security aides have rejected proposals from some military and intelligence officials to let US ground forces conduct raids against insurgent safe havens, the paper said.

They concluded that the United States could ill afford to threaten or further alienate a precarious, nuclear-armed country whose cooperation is essential to the administration on several fronts, the report pointed out.

Bureau Report

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