WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) -- A report says the U.S. could suspend hundreds of millions in military aid to Pakistan unless the two countries' fractured relations improve and Pakistan pursues militant groups more aggressively. Following months of difficult relations between the two nations, this development is not earth-shattering. The alleged amount would account for one-third of all aid the U.S. provides to the Middle Eastern nation.
The New York Times is reporting that the Obama administration is upset with Pakistan for expelling American military trainers and wants tougher action against the Taliban and others fighting American soldiers in Afghanistan. The Times has more:
Coupled with a statement from the top American military officer last week linking Pakistan’s military spy agency to the recent murder of a Pakistani journalist, the halting or withdrawal of military equipment and other aid to Pakistan illustrates the depth of the debate inside the Obama administration over how to change the behavior of one of its key counterterrorism partners.
The report cites anonymous officials saying up to $800 million in military assistance and equipment could be affected. They say equipment deliveries and aid would probably resume if U.S.-Pakistani relations improve and Pakistan proves its commitment to counterterrorism efforts. According to Ocala.com:
Altogether, about $800 million in military aid and equipment, or over one-third of the more than $2 billion in annual American security assistance to Pakistan, could be affected, three senior United States officials said.
This aid includes about $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, according to half a dozen Congressional, Pentagon and other administration officials who were granted anonymity to discuss the politically delicate matter.
Tensions between the countries have surged since U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May. Maleeha Lohdi, a former Pakistani diplomat who served twice as an ambassador to the U.S., claims that this action is likely going to create a deeper divide between the two nations. He says:
“It will be repeating a historic blunder and hurting itself in the bargain by using a blunt instrument of policy at a time when it needs Pakistan’s help to defeat Al Qaeda and make an honorable retreat from Afghanistan."
The White House said it didn't have an immediate comment on the report.