By Sebastian Abbot, Associated Press, July 12, 2011
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The decision to suspend more than one-third of American military aid to Pakistan could end up hurting Washington more than Islamabad as the United States seeks to navigate an end to the Afghanistan war and defeat al-Qaeda, former Pakistani officials and analysts warned Monday.
Holding back the $800 million in aid, they said, is unlikely to pressure Pakistan to increase cooperation with the United States and could strengthen those in Pakistan's government who argue that Washington is a fickle ally who can't be trusted.
"If you still need the relationship, which clearly the United States does, then it really doesn't make sense to take action at this time, because it leaves the United States with less, not more, influence with the Pakistani military," said Maleeha Lodhi, a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States. "Cooperation cannot be coerced by punitive actions."
Despite billions in American aid since the Sept. 11 attacks, the relationship has long been tense because of Pakistan's reluctance to target Taliban extremists on its territory who stage cross-border attacks against NATO troops in Afghanistan.
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