US ‘frustrated’ with Pak for its failure to check militants

November 14th, 2007 - 8:09 am ICT by admin  
According to government officials and independent experts who study relations between Washington and Islamabad, frustrations are rising among military officers on both sides.

The Washington Post quoted US officials as saying that part of the problem is that the Pakistani government has lacked sufficient commitment to engage the enemy, a task that may be further undermined by the country’s growing political instability as its leadership is challenged by an invigorated opposition.

Seth Jones, a Rand Corp. researcher who recently visited the region, said that US equipment is not being used “in a sustained way.”

“The army is not very effective, and there have been elements of the government that have worked with the Taliban in the tribal areas in the past,” making them ambivalent about the current fight against those forces, he said.

Independent Western experts also wonder whether Pakistan is devoting too much of US aid to large weapons systems, while short-changing its own counterinsurgency forces.

US officials said that of 1.6 billion dollars in US aid dedicated to security assistance in Pakistan since 2002, more than half went for purchases of major weapons systems sought by Pakistan’s army, including F-16 fighters.

Experts also said that the US aid has typically lacked sufficient oversight, or any means of measuring its effectiveness.

On the other hand, Pakistani officials said that strict US controls over equipment and a failure to provide other equipment, such as spare parts, have impeded their ability to hunt down Taliban and al-Qaeda sympathizers.

Though the Pakistani officials admitted slow progress in rooting out terrorists from the frontier provinces, but they chafe at suggestions that US military aid is being squandered.

Pakistan needs still more help, including persistent access to night-vision goggles, helicopters and other gear that is particularly useful in fighting an insurgency, Mahmud Ali Durrani, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, was quoted as saying. (ANI)

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