The Pentagon has proposed transferring U.S. military equipment from Iraq to Pakistani security forces to help Islamabad step up its offensive against the Taliban, according to officials and government documents.

The Pentagon request for the authority to "transfer articles no longer needed in Iraq" to the army of Pakistan received a cool reception in the U.S. Congress, where some questioned what safeguards would ensure the arms would not end up being diverted to Pakistan's border with India, a nuclear-armed power like Pakistan.

The inclusion of Pakistan in the request, along with Iraq and Afghanistan, underscored the high priority the Pentagon places on freeing up equipment the Pakistani army says it needs to mount ground operations in South Waziristan and other Taliban strongholds bordering Afghanistan.

In addition to the possibility of transfers from Iraq, the Pentagon is considering expanding programs under which Washington procures equipment for Pakistani forces through third governments, or leases them U.S. equipment at nominal rates, sources briefed on the discussions said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The News