Washington: Noting that US is getting an unprecedented level of cooperation from Islamabad in taking on insurgents, the Obama Administration on Tuesday said it will tell
the top Pakistani leadership what more needs to be done in the war against terrorism.
"There`s a Pakistani delegation here to continue the regular strategic dialogues that were begun in the spring of 2009. I think we see an unprecedented level of cooperation
from the Pakistanis in taking on insurgents. Because we understand -- unlike in the past, it`s now in our well-being to do so," the White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told
reporters ahead of the three-day meeting that kicks off on Wednesday.
Gibbs comments comes as a high-profile Pakistani delegation led by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the country`s powerful Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani arrived in Washington for the Strategic Dialogue with the United States.
"That having been said, throughout this process and throughout these meetings this week, there will be opportunities for us to detail for the Pakistanis what more
must be done and that was clear in the report that was sent to Congress and that`s been clear in our statements about our relationship with Pakistan," Gibbs said.
In its latest report to the Congress, early this month, the White House said that Pakistan was not doing enough in the war against terrorism.
The report had said that from March to June, the Pakistani military "continued to avoid military engagements that would put it in direct conflict with Afghan Taliban or [al Qaeda] forces in North Waziristan.This is as much a political choice as it is a reflection of an under-resourced military prioritizing its targets."
Meanwhile, a news report said the Obama Administration is preparing a security assistance package totaling as much as USD 2 billion over the next five years to help Pakistan fight extremism on its border with Afghanistan.
The security assistance package expected to be announced during the US-Pak Strategic Dialogue being held in Washington later this week, aims to address Pakistan`s
insistence it does not have the capability to go after terrorists and needs more support from the United States, the CNN reported.
The aid will help Pakistan purchase helicopters, weapons systems and equipment to intercept communications.
The USD 2 billion package is on top of billions of dollars that the Obama Administration has already gives to Pakistan in military aid and a USD 7.5 billion aid package
over five years in non-military counterterrorism assistance approved by Congress last year.
"The key is to beef up their ability to go after militants, it can`t be diverted to other threats," one senior US official was quoted as saying.
The latest announcement of US military assistance to Pakistani, when announced later this week, comes in less than a month of the Defence Minister, AK Antony, expressing
India`s strong opposition to such a military assistance.
Antony, who was in Washington last month to hold bilateral talks with the Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had conveyed India`s concerns about supply of US arms to Pakistan, arguing that a section of these are being targeted against India.
US officials defended their decision to provide fresh set of arms and equipment to Pakistan, as Pentagon believes that the Pakistani Army lacks the necessary resources and
capabilities to launch a decisive fight against terrorism in the border regions of the country.
"We recognise they need different kinds of capacities and more of them to handle extremists form within their own border," one official said.
"They do need more capacity and the kinds of capabilities that are geared toward fighting extremists, rather than a major land conflict," the official said.