WASHINGTON - US diplomats working in Pakistan face increasing harassment amid a sharp deterioration in ties in the wake of last year’s killing of Osama bin Laden, a State Department report said Thursday.Such harassment and obstruction is described by US embassy staff as “deliberate, willful and systematic,” according to the 76-report by the department’s watchdog, the office of inspector general.“Official Pakistani obstructionism and harassment, an endemic problem in Pakistan, has increased to the point where it is significantly impairing mission operations and programme implementations,” the report said.Harassment included such things as delaying visas for staff, blocking shipments of materials for aid programmes and construction work, and surveillance of staff and contractors. The official report, made available Thursday, comes after a February fact-finding tour of the US diplomatic missions in Islamabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Lahore.It urged US officials to ensure that the issue of harassment is raised in bilateral talks with the Pakistani government.Although it was marked ‘sensitive but unclassified,’ sections giving greater detail about the conditions faced by US embassy staff were blacked out along with several recommendations made by the watchdog. “The impact of these events has been felt across the full spectrum of the bilateral relationship,” the report said.“The expectation is that the future relationship will be less ambitious, more pragmatic,” it said, adding that the embassy also “struggles with the challenge of programming more than $2 billion in annual funding for development and security assistance programs.”The report makes 32 formal recommendations for improving the security and working conditions of the embassy staff, including updating its policy on the use of armoured vehicles.Washington-based officials, however, were also criticised for being too intrusive at times amid the intense interest and US commitment in what is happening on the ground in both Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan.“One of the embassy’s greatest challenges is managing Washington’s intense and at times intrusive involvement and voracious appetite for information,” the report said.From the time of the November border incident to the February review, embassy officials had taken part in 40 video conferences with senior people in Washington, some of them chaired by President Barack Obama. The report recommended that the number of video conferences between Washington and Islamabad be rationalised.Meanwhile, US military and intelligence officials are so frustrated with Pakistan’s failure to stop local militant groups from attacking Americans in neighbouring Afghanistan that they have considered launching secret joint US-Afghan commando raids into Pakistan to hunt them down, officials were quoted by an American news agency.But the idea, which US officials say comes up every couple of months, has been consistently rejected because the White House believes the chance of successfully rooting out the deadly Haqqani network would not be worth the intense diplomatic blowback from Pakistan that inevitably would ensue.The latest round of debate over whether to launch clandestine special operations raids into Pakistan against the Haqqanis came after the June 1 car bombing of Forward Operating Base Salerno in eastern Afghanistan that injured up to 100 US and Afghan soldiers, according to three current and two former US officials who were briefed on the discussions. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the still-evolving debates.The officials said that recent discussions of clandestine ground attacks have included Gen John Allen, the senior US commander in Afghanistan, as well as top CIA and special operations officials.Allen’s spokesman, Navy Cmdr Brook DeWalt, said Allen “has not and does not intend to push for a cross-border operation.”The White House and the CIA declined to comment for this story.Pentagon spokesman George Little said the US was still focused on US-Pakistan cooperation.“The key is to work together with Pakistan to find ways of fighting terrorists who threaten both the United States and Pakistan, including along the Afghan-Pakistan border, where extremists continue to plot attacks against coalition forces and innocent civilians,” he said.The officials say Allen expressed frustration that militants would attack and then flee across the border in Pakistan, immediately taking shelter in urban areas where attacking them by missile fire could kill civilians.The officials say options that have been prepared for President Barack Obama’s review included raids that could be carried out by US special operations forces together with Afghan commandos, ranging from air assaults that drop raiders deep inside the tribal areas to hit top leaders to shorter dashes only a few miles into Pakistan territory.The shorter raids would not necessarily be covert, as they could be carried out following the US military principle known as ‘hot pursuit’ that military officials say entitles their forces to pursue a target that attacks them in Afghanistan up to 10 kilometres inside a neighbouring country’s territory.The US has staged two major raids and other minor forays into Pakistan’s tribal territory before during the George W Bush administration; the most contentious was in September 2008 when Navy SEALs raided a Qaeda compound. The operators killed their target, but the ensuing firefight triggered a diplomatic storm with Pakistan.Rather than fly in, which US military planners at the time feared would alert the Pakistanis, the SEALs marched across the mountainous border, arriving later than planned because of the harsh terrain and just as the fighters were waking for morning prayers, according to one current and one former US official. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the clandestine operation.Everyone inside the targeted compound opened fire on the SEALs, including the women, one of whom lightly wounded one of the American operators. The firefight also woke the entire village, which joined in the battle, so the SEALs had to call for strafing runs by Black Hawk helicopters to beat them back.At least one woman and one child were among the many dead.