Pakistan says a U.S. decision to suspend $800 million in military aid to the country will not affect its operations against Islamist militants.
In an interview with VOA Monday, Pakistani military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas says the military is conducting its operations in the country’s tribal region without external support. He says the Pakistani military is using its own equipment, ammunition and other resources to fight al-Qaida and Taliban militants along the Afghan border.
Abbas also criticized the U.S. decision, telling VOA that providing aid with conditions is unacceptable.
On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff William Daley told ABC’s This Week that the United States has decided to suspend the multi-million-dollar military aid package to Pakistan.
Daley said Pakistan has been an important ally in the fight against terrorism, but it has taken some steps that have given Washington reason to withhold some of the military aid. He did not elaborate.
U.S. officials have been quoted as saying the move is a response to Pakistan’s decision to expel American military trainers and put limits on visas for U.S. personnel.
Analysts say the suspension also is aimed at pressuring Pakistan’s army to do more to cooperate with the U.S. to fight militants.
Ties between Washington and Islamabad have been frayed since the raid by U.S. special forces that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in northern Pakistan on May 2.
Last week, Admiral Mullen sparked a controversy when he commented on the murder of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad, who was beaten to death in May. Mullen said that while he could not tie the killing to any specific Pakistani agency, he had not seen any evidence to counter reports that the government approved the murder.