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Sunday
Jul102011

U.S. Slashes $800 Million in Military Aid to Pakistan

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- In a sign of tensions with Pakistan following the U.S. raid on former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, White House chief of staff Bill Daley said Sunday that the U.S. will suspend some $800 million in aid to Pakistan's military.

Daley confirmed a report in The New York Times Sunday morning that "up to about $800 million in military aid and equipment, or over one-third of the more than $2 billion in annual American security assistance to Pakistan, could be affected" because of concerns over Pakistan's expulsion of American military trainers, as well as Pakistan's ineffectiveness in fighting militants.

Tensions have been on the rise since the successful U.S. mission against bin Laden in May, who was hiding in a suburb of Pakistan's capital, with Pakistani officials angry over the incursion into their territory without permission.

"It's a complicated relationship in a very difficult complicated part of the world," Daley said. "Obviously there is still a lot of pain that the political system in Pakistan is feeling by virtue of the raid that we did to get Osama bin Laden, something that the President felt strongly about, that we have no regrets over.

Frustration with Pakistan boiled over in Congress in June, after news that the half-dozen-or-so Pakistanis who were vital to the mission to get bin Laden had been detained by Pakistan's top spy agency.

"How long do we support governments that lie to us? When do we say, 'Enough is enough'?" Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing June 15. "They arrested people who helped us get him."

Gates prompted laughter with his response:

"First of all, I would say, based on 27 years in CIA and four-and-a-half years in this job, most governments lie to each other," he said. "That's the way business gets done."

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