WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pakistan has cut by more than half a visa backlog affecting US officials and contractors needed to run American aid programmes aimed at combating extremism there, a State Department official said on Tuesday. The United States and Pakistan were developing a more cooperative, constructive relationship in the first year of a $7.5 billion, five-year civilian aid plan for Pakistan passed recently by Congress, said the official, Dan Feldman. But its going to take time, Feldman, the deputy special US representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told a House of Representatives subcommittee. US officials complained in December about hundreds of Pakistani visa delays, saying this could hamper aid intended to stabilise the Islamabad government and help Pakistans people. I think there was a backlog of 500 visas in January. Its down to less than 200 at this point, Feldman told the subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, part of the House Oversight and Government Reform panel. Although the United States is Pakistans biggest aid donor and is now launching the five-year-plan of $1.5b in non-military aid a year, there is suspicion on both sides, and analysts speak of a trust deficit. The visa backlog delayed the arrival of US auditors, accountants and inspectors to implement the civilian aid programme. I want to make clear to the government of Pakistan that US civilian assistance comes as a package: funding, programming and oversight, said Representative John Tierney, Chairman of the subcommittee. Feldman said some US aid would be going to help areas where the Pakistan Army recently launched an offensive against Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants. By the end of March, the United States will have completed arrangements to spend $55 million on roads and electricity in South Waziristan, he said. Another $16.5 million will go for the rehabilitation of Tarbela Dam in northwest Pakistan. Some $52 million will go to the Pakistan Electric Power Company to rehabilitate three thermal plants.