Monday, July 11, 2011

Pakistan Defiant Over U.S. Aid Cuts

The Pakistani army contends it is committed to fighting terrorists and is surprised the U.S. is suspending $800 million in aid, but a spokesman insists today the cut in military aid during these strained times will have "no significant effect" on anti-terror efforts.

"We will continue our operations as in the past," Gen. Athar Abbas tells the BBC after a top Obama administration official said the U.S. was pulling the purse strings.

Frustrated by duplicitous behavior on the part of Pakistan amid evidence that some officials may have helped hide deceased Al Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley told ABC"s "This Week" program yesterday that Islamabad had "taken some steps that have given us reason to pause on some of the aid."

"Obviously, there's still lot of pain that the political system in Pakistan is feeling by virtue of the raid that we did to get Osama Bin Laden, something that the President felt strongly about and we have no regrets over," Daley explained.

The U.S. hands Pakistan $2 billion a year in aid, but amid the decline of the American economy, combined with suspect Pakistani activities, some in Congress say it is time to end that foreign aid.

"Until we get through these difficulties, we will hold back some of the money that the American taxpayers have committed to give them," Daley added.

At the heart of the deteriorating relationship is Pakistan's spy agency, the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence, which has ties to militants groups and is believed to have been infiltrated by anti-American terrorist sympathizers.

The U.S. also nbelieves the ISI assassinated Saleem Shahzad, 40, to muzzle his reports that the ISI had been corrupted by Al Qaeda operatives or allies.

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