U.S. unlikely to halt Pakistan aid

For six years, the United States has staunchly supported Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, choosing to back a military leader seen as a strong ally in the "war on terror" rather than push the general more forcefully for democratic reforms.

But the risks associated with that strategy have become increasingly apparent in recent months, as Al Qaeda and the Taliban have gained strength in Pakistan's northwest frontier area despite billions of dollars in military aid to Musharraf's government since the Sept. 11 attacks.

That funding is Washington's main source of leverage over Musharraf. But officials said that it would be risky for the United States to withhold such aid to pressure Musharraf to reverse the emergency powers he decreed Saturday, acknowledging that the United States is dependent on Pakistan and can't afford to alienate its leadership.

The United States is likely to continue to scold Musharraf but not impose significant sanctions.

[Excerpt of article by Greg Miller, LA Times]

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