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Pakistan's army rejects all American financial aid

| Friday, June 10, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan's army lashed out on Thursday at its critics at home as well as in the United States in an angry statement that underscored just how deep a crisis the country's armed forces are suffering.

The statement rejected all American financial aid for the military, saying the money should go instead to the government to be spent on "the common man." It warned that it intended to "put an end" to domestic criticism of its actions.

It also tried to distance the military from the United States, saying that it had stopped U.S. training of the country's border guards and ordered the United States to "drastically" reduce the number of its troops in Pakistan.

Analysts here said the unusually detailed statement -- at 1,032 words, it even provided an accounting of how U.S. aid had been spent -- appeared to be an effort to garner flagging public support. Much of the statement was highlighted with bold lettering to emphasize its points.

Pakistan's military has been hit by a trio of calamities in the past month that have led to unprecedented censure at home, especially in the media but also from members of parliament: the May 2 U.S. special forces raid that found and killed Osama bin Laden in a town in northern Pakistan, a humiliating terrorist assault on a naval base in Karachi in mid-May, and the kidnapping and beating death of a prominent journalist, which been widely and openly blamed on the military's spy agency.

For the military, which has dominated Pakistan since the nation's creation in 1947, the public criticism is the harshest since 1971, when half the country broke away to form Bangladesh, and it was clear from the tone of the statement that the criticism has stung.

"This is an effort to drive a wedge between the army, different organs of the state and more seriously, the people of Pakistan," according to the statement.

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