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Senators wary of Pakistan’s role in Afghan terror strategy

- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2011

Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday questioned Pakistan's commitment to America's anti-terrorism strategy in Afghanistan, considering the U.S.' financial aid to the South Asian nation.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified before the committee that the U.S. gave Pakistan $2.8 billion last year, a token of the "difficult relationship" the two countries have shared for decades.

But senators pointed to Pakistan as an obstacle in the U.S. struggle to stabilize Afghanistan.

Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican, said Pakistan's role in the region seemed to be a "180 degree" reversal from four years ago, when the country expressed its interest in seeing Afghanistan secured.

"We're understanding that many of the leaders of Pakistan really don't want to see a stabilized Afghanistan," Mr. Corker said. "Their interest, while we've given them billions and billions of dollars of aid, is different from ours."

The committee's chairman — Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat — said the U.S.' popularity among Pakistani citizens is at 12 percent, the same level as of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

He also noted that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal of more than a hundred weapons has doubled since 2007.

"It has a much more combustible brew of terrorist extremist groups than Afghanistan and … its territory is being used today to plot attacks against neighbors as well as against America and Europe," Mr. Kerry said.

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