US to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan

US to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to PakistanUnited States is ready to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, the New York Times reported Thursday.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was scheduled to meet President Barack Obama in Washington the same day.

The US Congress was notified about the proposed sale of the additional fighters days ago, although it was unclear if the White House plans to announce the sale of the aircraft during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the US, said the report published in the New York Times.

The sale of the aircraft to Pakistan is subject to approval by the US Congress, which can also block the deal, says the NYT report.

The US considers Pakistan a key player in the region and a major non-NATO ally, a designation granted by the Bush administration following the Al Qaeda attacks of Sept 11, 2001 and the US invasion of Afghanistan.

President Obama recently announced that US troops would be staying in Afghanistan longer than he had promised, but the White House is keen to get the Taliban to the negotiating table.

The insurgents briefly captured a key northern Afghan city this month.

The US sees Pakistan as one of the few sources of influence over the militants, and analysts say Washington will use PM Sharif’s four-day trip to urge the prime minister to keep pushing for a new round of peace talks with the Taliban.

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