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US willing to give Pak what it needs to fight terror

May 05, 2009 10:31 IST

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has refuted the whining of Pakistan's Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani who had contended in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal that the main reason Pakistan's counter-insurgency efforts this far against the Taliban and other extremist groups was because it had not been provided with proper equipment --attack helicopters and night visions goggles -- by the United States as promised.

Gates told CNN, in response to the allegations by Haqqani that Washington has not been reluctant at all to share critical technology and training of modern equipment at all and argued, 'We have been willing to provide all the training and that kind of equipment that we possibly can as much as they would take.'

He said that far from any reluctance on the part of the US, 'there has been reluctance on their part up to now. They don't like the idea of a significant American military footprint inside Pakistan -- I understand that.'

'But we are willing to do pretty much whatever we can to help the Pakistani in this situation and we have been willing to do that for some time.'

When asked if there would be American military advisers in Pakistan training the Pakistani military in counter-insurgency, Gates said, 'That remains to be seen', but acknowledged, 'there are some very small number now, but it will depend on how the situation develops and the views of the Pakistani government'.

But he reiterated that 'I would just say, we are prepared to provide whatever help in developing this counter-insurgency capacity to the Pakistanis that we possibly can, but it's their country and they are sovereign and we'll let them dictate the rules.'

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC