Washington, Oct 7 (IANS): Washington is concerned about its negative image among the Pakistanis, the US State Department said Thursday.
"We are concerned about the public opinion polling numbers in Pakistan," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, when asked why the US, instead of India, is now perceived by many Pakistanis as their number one enemy, even though it gives them billions dollars in aid each year.
Nuland's comments came just hours after President Barack Obama warned Pakistan on its alleged ties with militant groups, including the Haqqani network, saying Washington will not accept a long-term relationship in which Pakistan is "not mindful" of US interests, Xinhua reported.
She said that a key focus of US embassy in Islamabad is to give "an accurate picture" to a broad cross-section of Pakistanis, admitting it is sometimes "hard to permeate, given the intense emotions about other aspects of the relationship."
She emphasized that the US civilian aid to Pakistan, which has not been affected the soured relationship, will help Pakistan to improve its economy, education etc., adding that the US will continue to make efforts on these areas to support the country.
Last month, the then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen publicly accused the Haqqani network of being a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's spy agency ISI, which prompted furious response from Islamabad.
The recent row has sent the two countries' relations to a new low, which had already been seriously damaged after US special forces secretly entered Pakistan and killed Al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in May.