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US defers $800 million aid to Pak

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

world Updated: Jul 11, 2011 00:11 IST

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

Relations between the two governments have been strained with the US wanting Pakistan to intensify its counterterrorism efforts. The relationship also has been tense due to the surprise US raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on May 2.

The Times, citing three US senior officials, said the United States was suspending or canceling $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 programme that had been training paramilitary forces, sending home more than 100 US trainers in recent weeks, and has threatened to close the base the CIA has been using for drone plane attacks on militant targets.

The Times said in private briefings with congressional staff last month that Pentagon officials said they would be taking a stronger stance toward Pakistan. "They wanted to tell us, 'Guys, we're delivering the message that this is not business as usual and we've got this under control'," one senior Senate said.