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Corker Opening Statement at Hearing on “Pakistan: Challenges for U.S. Interests”

United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Hearing: “Pakistan: Challenges for U.S. Interests”

Thursday, September 8, 2016

U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Chairman

Opening Statement

I’ll just generally outline that our relationship with Pakistan has been very complicated. I think we’ve gone through a period of time where we’ve both viewed our relationship as very transactional. We went through a period of time where we tried to change that and deal with Pakistan in a different manner and to create a more whole relationship with them. From my standpoint, that hasn’t been very successful.

We’ve expended about $33 billion of U.S. taxpayer dollars toward Pakistan since the early 2000s. I think we’ve probably all been to the FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas] areas and seen the expense, the actually tremendous progress that was made there with U.S. dollars with electricity and roads coming in to really cause those areas to not be as fertile for terrorists. Whereas at one time we were using our drones to ferret out terrorists in that region, what ultimately happened was they moved to the suburbs of Pakistan. They are now getting medical care. The Haqqani network leadership has been living there. The government of Pakistan knows where they live. And what in essence has happened is, where we used to be able to take them out in the FATA areas, now that they are living in the suburban areas, we cannot do that. As a matter of fact, they have safe havens there.

They are the number one attempted killers of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. It’s been of tremendous concern to our leadership there that 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 want to see a stable Afghanistan, on the other hand they are harboring people and through their own proxies are destabilizing Afghanistan.

So, I thank our witnesses for being here. It’s a very frustrating relationship, and working with others on the committee, I think you all know we’ve put a hold on resources relative to [Pakistan’s] acquisition of F16s, which I think is appropriate. I think all of us are becoming more and more frustrated with our relationship. I’m sure were going to hear some pros and cons today. I think you for being here to help us more fully understand how we need to go forward in our relationship there.