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US Congress Looks to Attach More Strings to Pakistan Aid

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TEHRAN, May 12 (ICANA) – Tough congressional stipulations on aid to Pakistan would represent a dramatic departure from the past, when the White House and State Department had free rein in dispensing the funds.
Thursday, May 12, 2011 10:34:41 PM
US Congress Looks to Attach More Strings to Pakistan Aid

The brazen commando raid near Islamabad that left Osama bin Laden dead created agreement among lawmakers of all political stripes that Washington has gotten a minimal return on its investment in Pakistan. Conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats alike say the stunning revelation means the U.S. must get tougher on Pakistani officials.

Conditions enacted in the past largely have given the Bush and Obama administrations ample leeway in determining whether Pakistan -- seen by both as an indispensable ally in the Afghanistan conflict -- was acting as an honest partner.

Despite bin Laden's refuge being about 30 miles from Islamabad, Pakistan remains a key strategic puzzle piece for the ongoing Afghanistan war, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Tuesday. Therefore, Washington cannot afford to just cut off aid -- but it should attach "more strings," she said.

Republicans and Democrats in both chambers have called for a new approach for dealing with Pakistan, using phrases like "a very different way" and saying Pakistan too often is "both firefighter and arsonist" in the fight against extremist groups. The Hill

Since 2001, Congress has approved about $20 billion for Pakistan in direct U.S. aid and military reimbursements, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) says. Reuters

In 2009, the Obama administration asked Congress to approve a specific new fund to help Pakistan's military develop counter-insurgency capabilities. Reuters

U.S. military relations with Pakistan have further strained following the arrest of a CIA contractor for killing two Pakistanis in Lahore in January. Raymond Davis was released after compensation was paid to the families of the victims. NBC News

The Davis fallout led Pakistani spy agencies to determine that the U.S. indeed had hundreds of active CIA operatives working in the nation above and beyond the officially reported ones working with the government. Antiwar

Relations further soured after a March 17 drone attack in North Waziristan killed 50 innocent tribesmen. NBC News

The raid by U.S. Navy SEALs that resulted in the al Qaeda leader's death put further strain on the already tender relationship between the two countries. FOX News

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