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Sunday, July 10, 2011

US to hold back $800mn in aid to Pakistan: NY Times

Washington : The Obama administration will hold back about $800 million in aid to the Pakistani military because Washingtonis unhappy with Pakistan’s expulsion of US military trainers and its campaign against militants, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Relations between the two governments have been strained with the United Stateswanting Pakistan to intensify its counterterrorism efforts. The relationship also has been tense due to the surprise USraid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on May 2, US drone attacks that have killed civilians and a raft of other issues.

The Times, citing three US senior officials, said the United States was suspending or cancelling $800 million in aid and equipment — more than a third of the $2 billion it gives Pakistan for security assistance.

About $300 million in US funding is to reimburse Pakistan for deploying more than 100,000 troops along the Afghan border to combat Taliban and other militant forces. Other funding covers training and military hardware, Times sources said.

US officials told the newspaper the aid and equipment could be resumed if relations improve and Pakistan takes more action against militants.

Pakistan has shut down a US program that had been training paramilitary forces, sending home more than 100 UStrainers in recent weeks, and has threatened to close the base the CIA has been using for drone plane attacks on militant targets.

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