WASHINGTON – During a hearing on U.S. policy toward Pakistan, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed continued frustration over Pakistan’s refusal to target the Haqqani network, a leading terrorist affiliate of the Taliban that is responsible for attacking American and NATO troops and threatening the U.S. objectives in Afghanistan. He accused Pakistan’s military and intelligence service of duplicity for providing safe haven to the Haqqani leadership within the country despite their government’s stated commitment to target them and other terrorist organizations in exchange for continued U.S. security assistance.
“We have this policy where in effect we are working with Pakistan and yet the extreme duplicity that exists with the relationship is that on one hand they say they want to see a stable Afghanistan, on the other hand they are harboring people and through their own proxies are destabilizing Afghanistan,” said Corker.
Earlier this year, Corker objected to any U.S. financing for Pakistan’s purchase of F-16 aircraft, and the U.S. decided to withhold $300 million in reimbursements to Pakistan for counterterrorism operations after the Defense Department could not provide a congressional certification stating that Pakistan is taking sufficient action against the Haqqanis.
The committee heard testimony today from Dr. Toby Dalton of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, former director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center Robert Grenier, and Dr. Daniel Markey with the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Grenier called for the next administration to conduct a “zero-base” review of U.S. policy toward Pakistan that will evaluate future assistance in a more strategic way.
“We need to look at our assistance to Pakistan in a very tactical way…so that we have clear common purposes to which we are going to put specific aid and deliverables for what that aid is actually going to produce,” said Grenier. “I think we have to get away from the pattern that we have been in for so many years where we provide them with broad assistance, which is not accounted for in a very tactical way, and somehow expecting that we can use that as a tool, as a lever, to get them to change aspects of their behavior that frankly they simply are not going to change.”