Key American lawmakers are not prepared to support US giving military aid to Pakistan without “some specific actions” by that country in combating terrorism, the Obama administration has said.
“Key members of Congress have been clear they’re not prepared to support US military aid to Pakistan absent some specific actions,” State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters.
Trudeau, however, would not say what specific actions US lawmakers want Pakistan to take before they can support the military aid.
“I would direct you to Congress, those specific members, for anything further on their position. As always, we are committed to working with Congress to deliver security assistance to our partners and allies. It furthers US goals by building capacity to meet shared security challenges,” she said.
Asked if the State Department is willing to certify that Islamabad is taking enough action against the Haqqani network, Trudeau said: “We’ve spoken about our views on Haqqani quite a bit as well as what we view Pakistan needs to do.”
She said Pakistan has said they would not discriminate against militant groups.
“We could encourage them to continue to live up to that,” she said.
Meanwhile The New York Times in an editorial praised Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for putting a hold on the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan with American taxpayers’ money.
“Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has wisely barred the use of American aid to underwrite Pakistan’s purchase of eight F-16s. Pakistan will still be allowed to purchase the planes, but at a cost of USD 700 million instead of about the USD 380 million,” The Times’ Editorial Board said.
“Mr Corker told The Times he would lift the hold on the aid if Pakistan cracks down on the Haqqani network, which he called the ‘No 1 threat’ to Afghanistan and American troops there,” it said, adding that “it is time to put the squeeze on Pakistan.”
“Pakistan’s double game has long frustrated American officials, and it has grown worse. There are now efforts in Washington to exert more pressure on Pakistan Army,” it said.
Responding to the damning editorial, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Jalil Abbas Jilani, said allegations of duplicity and double game are extremely painful especially when his country has suffered the most due to war in Afghanistan.
“Instead of putting the entire blame on Pakistan, it would have been better had the editorial also commented on the protracted Afghan refugee issue and lack of border management among the underlying reasons for regional instability. Omitting such fundamental questions, that impede a long term solution to the Afghan problem, smack partisanship on part of the New York Times,” Jilani wrote.