Senator seeks report on Pakistan’s efforts to curb terror groups

July 20th, 2010 - 8:17 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, July 20 (IANS) A US senator has demanded a Congressionally-mandated report from the government on the effectiveness of $13 billion aid to Pakistan and Islamabad’s efforts to cease support for terrorist groups.

“With much of Al Qaeda’s leadership believed to reside in the tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Pakistan has received more than $13 billion in US taxpayer funds since the 9/11 attacks, $7.2 billion of which has been reimbursements to Pakistan’s military,” noted Democratic Senator Robert Menendez.

The demand for the report was made by Menendez, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of her recent trip to Pakistan.

“In the interest of strengthening our national security and protecting the American people, I am writing to urge you to provide several outstanding, Congressionally-mandated updates on the effectiveness of US assistance to Pakistan and on that government’s efforts to cease support for terrorist groups,” he wrote.

Although the recent failed attack in New York serves as another wake-up call, the ties to Pakistan come as no surprise, he said.

“As early as February 2008, I co-requested a series of reports from the Government Accountability Office to assess controls and counter-terrorism efforts along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border,” he said.

“Among their findings was that the US lacked a comprehensive plan to combat the terrorist threat in the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), and that Congressional oversight and agency monitoring efforts were needed to ensure US funds were used as intended,” he said.

Citing a recent RAND Corporation study, Menendez wrote: “Analysis from independent observers like RAND and new threats from those like Faisal Shahzad reaffirm the necessity to define, revisit, and if necessary, reassess our strategy.”

“There is no doubt that we are dealing with complicated issues in a volatile region; the threat of terrorism originating from Pakistan is no less complex and challenging.”

“It calls for a plan utilising all elements of US national power, which is why I urge the prompt completion of the comprehensive strategy and monitoring reports on security and foreign assistance in the region,” Menendez wrote.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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