Imminent Pact Between Pakistan And Extremists Is Troubling For US Security, Says Menendez

Imminent Pact Between Pakistan And Extremists Is Troubling For US Security, Says Menendez

Member of Foreign Relations Committee has pushed Bush administration on Pakistan policy

Washington - The Pakistani government is reportedly nearing an agreement with extremist groups in the area along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border - an agreement that could lead to a withdrawal of Pakistani troops from that area. This Federally Administered Tribal Area is of major concern to U.S. security interests because al Qaeda has regrouped in this safe zone.

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who has focused intently on the situation in Pakistan, today released the following statement:

"Only the Bush administration could send 10 billion U.S. taxpayer dollars to Pakistan to fight extremists, then watch it turn into a treaty. Just as the government report said last week, the White House has no plan to get the terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11. The Bush administration needs to channel its obsession with staying the course in Iraq into an obsession with bursting Osama bin Laden's protective bubble along the Pakistan border.

"Our government has blindly supported the Government of Pakistan under the hopes that it would disrupt al Qaeda, but this is failing. The administration needs to tell us what other options it is pursuing, because following a stay-the-course philosophy does not secure our country."

Senator Menendez is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee in charge of international assistance and has held hearings examining the effectiveness of more than $10 billion in U.S. assistance to Pakistan since 9/11 (http://menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=287201). Last week he helped unveil a blunt Government Accountability Office report showing that the U.S. has no concrete plan to get the terrorists along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border (http://menendez.senate.gov/newsroom/record.cfm?id=296311).

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