Pakistan Route Cut-Off Costs U.S. $100 Mln a Month
Pakistan’s closure of supply routes to the Afghan war is costing American taxpayers $100 million a month, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday, as he recommended possibly setting conditions on future U.S. aid to Islamabad.
Panetta’s decision to disclose what had been a closely guarded figure at the Pentagon appeared to be another sign of frustration with Pakistan and will do little to generate sympathy for that country in Congress, which is wrestling with ways to scale back the U.S. budget deficit.
Asked during a Senate budget hearing whether he would recommend halting aid to Pakistan, Panetta said: “I’d be very careful about just shutting it down.”
“What I would do is look at conditions for what we expect them to do,” Panetta said, without elaborating. He agreed to help write a letter to Congress with his recommendations for how to proceed with aid for the Pakistani military and government.