March 27, 2009

Chairman Kerry Welcomes President Obama's New Strategy for Afghanistan-Pakistan

Kerry-Lugar bill to increase aid to the region

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) released the following statement today in response to President Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan:

"President Obama's new strategy for Pakistan and Afghanistan is realistic and bold in a critical region where our policy needs rescuing," said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry. "Many of us have long advocated more troops for training Afghan security forces and a clear mission for our forces that are risking their lives, and this new policy is a downpayment in that direction. I am particularly encouraged that the President has centered his Pakistan strategy around the legislation which Sen. Lugar and I will introduce in the coming days. It will be the keystone of a new ‘smart power' approach to this vital nation. On the non-military side, it will authorize a tripling of U.S. aid to $1.5 billion annually for five years including funds that will build schools, roads, and clinics. On the military side, it will institute strict new accountability for security aid that has for too long been a blank check. This combined strategy will enable the U.S. and Pakistan to work together to root out Al Qaeda, quell the threat of violent radicalism, and give us a shot at building a secure future for the entire region."