WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- The United States is likely to keep billions of dollars flowing to Pakistan's military despite the detention of human rights advocates and leaders of the political opposition by the country's government, the New York Times reported Monday.
U.S. President George W. Bush's first concern is to "protect America and protect American citizens by continuing to fight against terrorists," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was quoted as saying in Jerusalem, Israel.
"That means we have to be very cognizant of the counter-terrorism operations that we are involved in. We have to be very cognizant of the fact that some of the assistance that has been going to Pakistan is directly related to the counter-terrorism mission," Rice told reporters.
U.S. officials acknowledged that they were trying to balance the American insistence that Pakistan remain on the path to democracy and (Pakistani) President (Pervez) Musharraf's unwillingness to risk chaos that would allow al Qaeda and the Taliban to operate more freely, the New York Times said.
"The equities in Pakistan are huge," an unidentified senior U.S. official said, noting "we've got U.S. and NATO troops dying in Afghanistan and a war on terrorism" that cannot be halted while General Musharraf tries to shore up his powers.
The Bush administration has provided nearly 11 billion U.S. dollars in aid to Pakistan since 2001, most of it in military hardware and cash support for the country's operating budget.
But frustration is rising among military officers on both sides because the aid has produced neither battlefield success nor great trust, according to government officials and independent experts studying relations between the U.S. and Pakistan.