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US should not force help on Pakistan’s army: military official

world Updated: Jun 05, 2009 12:08 IST
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Cautioning America against thrusting “help” on Pakistan’s army, a top US military official has said Washington should take into account Islamabad’s “willingness” while extending military support.

The US should be cautious in dealing with Pakistan’s army, to prevent sending an impression to Pakistani people that their army is “an extension” of the American military, Admiral Eric Olson, Commander of US Special Operations Command told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Thursday.

“I think that we can’t help Pakistan more than they want to be helped. And one of the filters on sort of their willingness to be helped is how the Pakistan military is perceived within Pakistan,” he said.

Observing that the Army is the strongest institution of Pakistan historically, Olson in his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee said it is the element of government upon which the people depend.

“I think we have to be very careful in recognising that we can’t take actions that would cause the Pakistan military to appear to the Pakistani people to be an extension of ours,” Olson argued.

Olson was responding to a question from Congressman Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, as to what US needed to do to help Pakistan fight counter-insurgency more successfully.