US Set to sell F-16 jets to Pakistan in bid to bolster partnership
WASHINGTON (92 News) – In an effort to strengthen military ties in the region, the United States will sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, despite an announcement that Pakistan will not comply with an expected US request to limit its potential use of small tactical nuclear weapons.
The decision comes ahead of President Obama’s meeting today (Thursday) with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which is to be dominated by the president’s decision to extend the American troop presence in Afghanistan and a quiet effort to get Sharif to halt the deployment of a new generation of tactical nuclear weapons.
According to senior US official, the US president considered in this regard despite concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear program.
Many American officials have continued to insist that the best path forward with Pakistan is to work with its elected leaders and military commanders in hopes of convincing them to crack down on all militants, not just those who actively fight the government there.
The Obama administration is also looking for Pakistan to help bring the Taliban to peace talks — an effort that the administration has pursued for years. As a result, officials are loath to antagonize Islamabad at a crucial moment in the war in Afghanistan.