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June 9, 2016

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Obama administration defends military assistance to Pakistan

Obama administration defends military assistance to Pakistan

WASHINGTON: The Obama administration has once again defended military assistance to Pakistan saying that any imposed condition would "unnecessarily complicate" progress in bilateral ties and would be against the US interest.

The White House objected to the US Senate's version of the National Defence Authorisation Act due to be discussed later this week. The move imposes condition on the 300 million dollars aid to Pakistan. It will also requires the secretary of defence to provide certification, without issuing a waiver, that Islamabad has been instrumental in combating terrorism, and taking demonstrated action against militant groups.

"We share the committee's concerns regarding the threat posed to our forces and interests in Afghanistan by the Haqqani network and we continue to engage with Pakistan at the highest levels regarding the need for concerted action specifically against the group," the White House said.

It further said that the restriction imposed by the Senate would "unnecessarily complicate progress in US-Pakistan bilateral relationship on this issue and would limit the secretary of defence's ability to act in the US national security interest."

Senate version of the NDAA differed with that of the House on many issues including Pakistan. The House version of the bill, passed last month, calls for blocking $450 million of the $900 million US aid to Pakistan in Coalition Support Fund. The Senate version has reduced both the figures respectively to $300 million and $800 million.

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