The United States’ supply of military, intelligence and economic support to Pakistan is likely to increase significantly despite frustrations that Pakistan “is not doing enough to combat terrorist groups in the country,” according to government officials here.

In a report The Washington Post quoted unnamed officials in the Obama administration saying that Vice President Joe Biden would announce further measures to boost U.S. support to Pakistan when he travels there next week for meetings with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani and other top government leaders.

While Mr. Biden is expected to ask for a long-term strategy for the region in exchange, any promised increase in U.S. support will be over and above the $7.5 billion funding already sanctioned for Pakistan under the Kerry-Lugar bill and a recent announcement of over $2 billion to be directly given to the Pakistani army.

While the latest round of support may be calibrated to the level of assistance needed for Pakistan to launch an offensive against Taliban sanctuaries in areas bordering Afghanistan, administration

officials were also quoted in the Post as saying that moves to deepen the U.S.’ intelligence cooperation with Pakistan would be “a way of assuaging Pakistan’s fears that India... is building its own influence in Afghanistan.”

Administration officials also admitted that the steps to enhance U.S. aid to Pakistan even more would be consistent with President Barack Obama’s recent Afghanistan war review, according to which the U.S. would “redouble... efforts to look for political approaches to ending the war, including a recognition that Pakistan must play an important role if not a dominant one, in reconciliation talks with the Taliban.”

However, according to anonymous official sources, Pakistan understood that its region had become the “single most important foreign policy issue to the U.S. and... their cachet has gone up.”

Yet officials said that Pakistan had also realised that it had reached the point of maximum leverage and, “Things about their region are going to change one way or the other in the near future,” as the American public had become increasingly disillusioned with the war.

Keywords: U.S.-Pak. ties


U.S. vice-president in Pakistan for talksJanuary 12, 2011

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