Capt. Kirby described U.S.-Pakistani military relations as being in “a very tough spot.”
Noting that Pakistan on Tuesday recalled some troops from border posts meant to coordinate activity with international forces in Afghanistan, Capt. Kirby said the U.S. and its NATO partners hope they will return soon.
“The whole reason those centers exist is to help try to prevent incidents like what happened” Nov. 26 on the border, he said. “The risks [of miscommunication and mistaken attacks] only increase when you don’t have those coordination centers fully manned and staffed.”
The closing of the border and other Pakistani reactions to the border incident have again raised questions in Congress about the future of U.S.-Pakistani relations.
Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Monday that Washington should reconsider the relationship.
They called the Pakistani soldier deaths a “terrible tragedy” but said Islamabad’s response is “deeply troubling” and has added to the deterioration of the relationship.
“In particular, all options regarding U.S. security and economic assistance to Pakistan must be on the table, including substantial reductions and stricter standards for performance,” they said in a joint statement.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters Tuesday that legislation putting new restrictions on aid to Pakistan would have a “good chance” of passing Congress.
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