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American diplomats complain of being harassed in Pak: report

American diplomats are complaining of being harassed in Pakistan, fraying relations between the two countries at a critical moment when the Obama administration is demanding more help to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

world Updated: Dec 17, 2009 13:13 IST

American diplomats are complaining of being harassed in Pakistan, fraying relations between the two countries at a critical moment when the Obama administration is demanding more help to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The US officials say that parts of the Pakistani military and intelligence services are mounting this campaign and this extends to refusal to extend approved visas for more than hundred American officials and frequent searches of US diplomatic vehicles in major cities, the New York Times reported quoting US officials.

The harassment affects military attache's, CIA officers, junior level diplomats, development experts and others. As a result, the Times said, some key American aid programmes to Pakistan are grinding to a halt.

The delays in granting visas extensions are even affecting military programmes as scores of US helicopters being used by the Pakistan Army in its ongoing campaign against the Taliban can no longer be serviced as the specialists have not been given visas.

The paper said reimbursement to Pakistan of nearly $1 billion a year for counter-terrorism has been suspended because the last of the American embassy's five accountant had to leave the country after their visas expired.

"There’s an incredible disconnect between what they want of us and the fact we can’t get the visas," a diplomat said.