Accessibility links

Breaking News

U.S. Says It Wants More From Pakistan, Could Boost Aid

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "A real sea change in the commitment we've seen..."
KANSAS CITY, Montana (Reuters) -- The United States wants and expects more from Pakistan in the fight against insurgents and is ready to offer additional assistance if Islamabad asks, two senior Obama administration officials said.

"We've gotten more cooperation and it's been a real sea change in the commitment we've seen from the Pakistan government. [But] we want more. We expect more," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CBS's "60 Minutes" in an interview, excerpts of which were released on May 7.

She added that Washington had also warned of "severe consequences" if a successful attack in America were traced back to Pakistan. She did not elaborate.

Investigations into the Pakistani-American suspect in last week's failed bombing attempt in New York's Times Square have uncovered possible links to the Pakistani Taliban and a Kashmiri Islamist group.

That has prompted speculation the United States, Pakistan's top provider of aid, could press Islamabad to open risky new fronts against Islamic militants.

But Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking to reporters on a trip to Kansas, appeared to play down the chances of an expanded Pakistani crackdown on insurgents.

He pointed to the strain on security forces already battling militants in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

"With their military operations in the west, they've started to be pretty thinly stretched themselves, as well as taking a substantial number of casualties," Gates said.

The United States was ready to step up assistance to Pakistan, he said.

"We're willing to do as they are willing to accept," Gates said. "We are prepared to do training, and exercise with them. How big that operation becomes is really up to them."