Aid to Pakistan to Resume as Tension With U.S. Eases

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from The New York Times,

The United States plans to give more than $1.5 billion in assistance to Pakistan for programs that had been blocked because of tension between the two nations over events including the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, American officials said Saturday.

The decision to release the money, expected to be discussed when President Obama welcomes the Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to the White House on Wednesday, was confirmed by the State Department and Congressional officials.

The White House has set a warm tone for the Obama-Sharif session, officially stating that the meeting would highlight the “resilience of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship” and further cooperation on trade and economic development, regional stability and the fight against extremism.

For all the good will that the Obama administration is seeking to generate through this package, relations between the countries are still dictated by tensions over the C.I.A.-operated drone program. Mr. Sharif’s government has repeatedly condemned American drone strikes that have occurred in Pakistan’s tribal belt since his administration began in June, despite assurances from American officials that the strikes were killing few civilians.

Another point of contention has been the future of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of American combat troops in 2014. American officials believe that Pakistan can play a key role in efforts to draw the Afghan Taliban into peace talks, yet remain suspicious of the Pakistani military’s links to certain militant factions such as the Haqqani network, which has carried out many attacks on Western and Afghan troops inside Afghanistan.

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