Pakistani officials are incensed after an announcement that the Administration of President Barack Obama will cut some of country’s foreign aid.
On Sunday, the President’s Chief of Staff, William Daley, confirmed an article from The New York Times, which reported that “(t)he Obama administration is suspending and, in some cases, canceling hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to the Pakistani military, in a move to chasten Pakistan for expelling American military trainers and to press its army to fight militants more effectively.”
The total amount held back could be up to $800 million, according to a CBSNews.com article, an amount that includes $300 million earmarked for funding Pakistan’s efforts against militants along its border with Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, in an interview with Pakistani media outlet Express 24/7, Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said the country may remove troops from the border in response to the cuts, Reuters reported.
The Minister reportedly told the outlet that the funds are used to reimburse Pakistan for maintaining its army in tribal areas. “This is what we are demanding,” he said, according to the article. “It is our own money.”
“If Americans refuse to give us money, then okay,” Mukhtar said. “I think the next step is that the government or the armed forces will be moving from the border areas. We cannot afford to keep military out in the mountains for such a long period.”
The reimbursements for troop costs are being reviewed “in light of questions about Pakistan’s commitment to carry out counterterrorism operations. For example, the United States recently provided Pakistan with information about suspected bomb-making factories, only to have the insurgents vanish before Pakistani security forces arrived a few days later,” The New York Times reported.