U.S. attempt to soften Pakistan attitudes via humanitarian aid

The Obama administration is stepping up emergency relief for victims of Pakistan's devastating floods, hoping a highly visible dose of goodwill will soften anti-American attitudes in a country seen as vital to defeating al-Qaeda.

A Pew Foundation poll released last week that found nearly six in 10 Pakistanis view the United States as an enemy, and only one in 10 call it a partner. Nearly two-thirds said they want American troops out of Afghanistan.

U.S. officials believe a major humanitarian response to a deadly 2005 earthquake in Pakistan boosted the U.S. image there, at least temporarily.

Pakistan is the key partner of the U.S. in the Afghan conflict. Separate efforts reflect growing concern about the lack of apparent progress in the nearly nine-year conflict in Afghanistan, which has cost more than $297 billion and the lives of more than 1,100 U.S. troops.

Although the U.S. has given billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan since the 9/11 attacks, the Pew poll revealed that many Pakistanis don't realize it. About a quarter of those questioned said the U.S. provides a lot of financial aid. Nearly a quarter said it provides a little aid, 10 percent said the U.S. gives hardly any, and 16 percent believe the U.S. gives Pakistan no aid.

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