WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pakistan must demonstrate its commitment to defeating al Qaeda and other militants on its soil, a top U.S. official said on Tuesday, reflecting U.S. concern about Taliban influence in the nuclear-armed country.
"Pakistan must demonstrate its commitment to rooting out al Qaeda and the violent extremists within its borders," U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the U.S., special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said in testimony prepared for delivery to a congressional committee.
"Security assistance for Pakistan has to show results," he added, suggesting that the United States may tie an increase in aid to Pakistan to benchmarks in a variety of areas.
"The administration intends to implement measures of performance in its economic, social and military assistance to Pakistan," he said, saying such conditions must not worsen "the 'trust deficit' that plagues" U.S.-Pakistani relations.
U.S. officials have become increasingly worried about the strength of Pakistan's Taliban militants, who have advanced beyond their Swat valley stronghold to Buner valley, which is just 60 miles northwest of the capital, Islamabad.
Pakistani security forces launched an offensive to expel militants from Buner and another district on April 26. About 180 militants have been killed, according to the military, although there has been no independent confirmation.
(Editing by Sandra Maler)
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