News / USA

    US Lawmakers Examine Pakistan Ties Post-Bin Laden

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (file photo)
    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry (file photo)

    For days, U.S. lawmakers have berated Pakistan over the discovery of Osama bin Laden at a large, fortified compound outside Islamabad.  Some legislators have suggested withholding U.S. aid until Pakistani officials explain how the terrorist leader was able to live under their noses for so long.  But while seeking answers, high-ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee describe Pakistan as a vital strategic ally, and say severing ties between Washington and Islamabad would be a costly mistake.

    Days after U.S. Special Forces killed Osama bin Laden, lawmakers continue to ask pointed questions about Pakistan.  

    "What did Pakistan’s military and intelligence services know?  What is appropriate to think they should have known?  Who did they think was living behind those 15-foot [4.5-meter] walls? All Americans and many other people are troubled by these questions," said Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.

    But the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was quick to add the following: "No matter what we learn about the events that preceded the killing of Osama bin Laden, we still have vital national security interests in this region."

    The top Republican on the committee, Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, agreed.

    "We must admit Pakistan is not an easy partner.  But distancing ourselves from Pakistan would be unwise and extremely dangerous.  It would weaken our intelligence-gathering, limit our ability to prevent conflict between India and Pakistan, further complicate military operations in Afghanistan, end cooperation on finding terrorists, and eliminate engagement with Islamabad on the security of its nuclear weapons," Lugar said.

    Testifying at a committee hearing was South Asia expert Michael Krepon, who spoke in sober tones about a possible rupture between Washington and Islamabad.

    "The U.S.-Pakistan relationship could not have survived this long without the presence of vital common interests.  But we are now very close to another divorce," Krepon said.

    Krepon said allowing such a divorce while continuing to pour massive U.S. resources into Afghanistan makes no sense.

    "The future of Pakistan matters a whole lot more than the future of Afghanistan.  Pakistan, unlike Afghanistan, is a ‘hinge state’ [linchpin] in the Islamic world. U.S. military and diplomatic investments do not remotely correspond to the relative importance of Afghanistan and Pakistan to vital U.S. national security interests.  And some of our policies are increasing stress fractures within Pakistan," Krepon said.

    U.S. Institute of Peace South Asia adviser Moeed Yusuf urged pragmatism and realism in U.S. expectations for Pakistan. "Relations with Pakistan will never be ‘good’.  But they are still necessary," Yusuf said.

    Yusuf said the United States should forge a relationship with Islamabad that looks beyond America’s immediate needs in Afghanistan and the war on terror.

    "Withdrawing [U.S.] aid at this moment would be tantamount to giving up on Pakistan.  To optimize gains, economic assistance must be tailored to ensure maximum development benefits.  There is a need to reconsider use of aid for short-term stabilization objectives.  There are things that money cannot buy.  And in Pakistan’s case, it is their strategic mindset.  India-Pakistan normalization is critical for Pakistan, but it is not our aid that is going to do the trick.  It would therefore be best to use America’s economic leverage to ensure better development outcomes.  And returns on the counterterrorism front should be linked only to security assistance," Yusuf said.

    U.S. military and civilian aid to Pakistan has totaled about $20 billion during the past decade.  While agreeing aid should not be terminated, other experts advocated a more stringent certification process before disbursing funds, to ensure U.S. aid reaches its intended recipients and U.S. goals are met.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.