(WASHINGTON) -- A senior State Department official confirms to ABC News that the U.S. will withhold training and supply assistance to a handful of Pakistani military units that were found to have committed human rights violations.
“In accordance with the Leahy amendments we have withheld assistance for units that are associated with gross human rights violations. At the same time we have encouraged Pakistan to improve its human rights training and Pakistan is taking steps in that direction,” the official told ABC.
The official said that a “handful” of Pakistani units are affected, though he declined to say which ones. He said that Pakistan had not yet been informed of the move, even though senior Pakistani officials are in Washington to meet with President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for a strategic dialogue.
The official couldn’t say what specific events triggered the freeze which, under longstanding law, requires the U.S. to cut off military aid to allies for human rights violations.
However, it is worth noting that the U.S. was concerned about a video that was circulated recently which appeared to show several men dressed in Pakistani military uniforms executing a group of blindfolded men, supposedly during last year’s campaign in Swat. It’s likely that the video wasn’t the only incident of concern, but the U.S. did pressure Pakistan to investigate the matter, something the country promised to do.
The decision is a strong rebuke of a key ally, and comes just after a U.S. helicopter killed Pakistani border guards, and the U.S. urges Pakistan to push into other parts of the country to pursue the Taliban and al Qaeda.
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