US' 'fight Taliban or lose funding' quid-pro-quo to Pak

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Washington, Oct 22(ANI): The United States has reportedly warned Pakistan that continued inaction against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda havens bordering Afghanistan could jeopardize the billions of dollars provided to the country.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the warnings raise the stakes for talks this week in Washington between American and Pakistani officials.

It would follow months of growing tensions, in which the Obama administration has repeatedly criticized Islamabad's perceived unwillingness to take stronger action against the Taliban and its allies.

According to congressional estimates, US military and civilian funding for Pakistan totaled over 3.5 billion dollars over the last year.

The White House has said that it intends to increase annual grants for Pakistan to buy US defense equipment, but senior officials have warned that Congress could cut that back, the paper said.

It is also believed that the 'Coalition Support Fund' payments, which reimburse Pakistan for its military operations against militants, could face future cuts.

The US had reimbursed 1.3 billion dollars between January and May for Pakistani operations conducted in 2008 and 2009, but has not paid for operations in 2010, the paper added.

The US had recently slammed Pakistan over its campaign against terrorists, stating bluntly that its government and military have been unwilling to take action against terrorists.

"The Pakistan military continued to avoid military engagements that would put it in direct conflict with Afghan Taliban or Al-Qaeda forces in North Waziristan," a recent White House report had stated.

"This is as much a political choice as it is a reflection of an under-resourced military prioritizing its targets," it added.

Regarding the neighbouring tribal region of South Waziristan, the unclassified 27-page report said: "Pakistani military operations advanced slowly because they haven't been able to stabilize areas after they clear them of militants."

"There the military largely stayed close to the roads and did not engage against those (Pakistani Taliban) militants who returned after fleeing into North Waziristan. The Pakistan military was nonetheless constrained to disrupting and displacing extremists groups without making lasting gains against the insurgency," it added. (ANI)

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