US Senate votes to tie Pak aid to NATO supply routes

Last Updated: Wed, May 23, 2012 07:57 hrs

Washington: A sub-committee of the United States Senate has voted to cut aid to Pakistan by 58 percent if it continues to refuse to reopen supply routes for NATO troops in Afghanistan.

The sub-committee has threatened to withhold even more cash if Islamabad fails to respond.

This action by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Aid followed the weekend NATO Summit in Chicago at which Washington had hoped to reach a deal with Islamabad to end the supply line dispute.

Earlier, Pakistan had closed the supply routes through its territory to Afghanistan after American drones killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Pakistan Afghan border last November.

Since then, NATO has been compensating through expanded shipments of war supplies via Afghanistan's other neighbors, the Northern Distribution Network, which more expensive.

This stand by the sub-committee reflects Washington's frustration over the nearly six-month-long stand-off.

"We're not going to be giving money to an ally that won't be an ally," The Express Tribune quoted Senator Patrick Leahy, as saying.

The counterinsurgency fund was established several years ago to help train and equip Pakistan's military, making Pakistan one of the leading recipients of US foreign aid and in recent years.

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