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Report: US Diplomats Harassed in Pakistan

  • VOA News

Members of a Pakistani civil society chant slogans during anti-U.S. rally, Islamabad, Feb. 28, 2011.

Members of a Pakistani civil society chant slogans during anti-U.S. rally, Islamabad, Feb. 28, 2011.

An internal State Department report says American diplomats in Pakistan are facing "deliberate, willful and systematic" harassment at the hands of the Pakistani government in the wake of last year's killing of Osama bin Laden.

The report found that U.S. entities in Pakistan have long been subjected to "unusual" obstruction that has "reached new levels of intensity" since U.S. special forces raided bin Laden's compound in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad last May.

The State Department says the problems faced by the diplomats include delayed visa issuances, blocked shipments for both assistance programs and construction projects, and surveillance of, and interference with, mission employees and contractors.

But many of the sections that went into greater detail about the harassment were blacked out, along with several recommendations to rectify the situation.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry responded to the State Department report, saying all foreign diplomats, including Americans, who have been "duly notified by their embassies" and accredited by the ministry "are extended full courtesies and privileges in accordance with the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic/consular privileges and immunities."

The report was compiled by the State Department's inspector general on U.S. embassy operations in Islamabad. The internal office praised the embassy for conducting a complex relationship "with a passive-aggressive" partner that switches between being "an ally and an adversary."

Relations between Washington and Islamabad have been strained over several incidents in addition to the bin Laden raid.

Pakistan shut down NATO supply routes into Afghanistan after coalition airstrikes mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani troops last November. Pakistan has also repeatedly criticized U.S. drone strikes targeting al-Qaida and Taliban-linked militants in the country's northwest, saying the attacks are a violation of the country's sovereignty.

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