Senator seeks report on US assistance to Pakistan

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 15:34

Washington: Noting that Pakistan has
received over USD 13 billion worth of US aid post 9/11, an
influential Senator has demanded that the Obama Administration
should submit to the Congress a report on aid effectiveness
and Islamabad`s efforts to cease support for terrorist groups.

Senator Robert Menendez demanded this in a letter to
Secretary Hillary Clinton in which he said that analysis from
independent observers like RAND and new threats from those
like Faisal Shahzad reaffirm the necessity to define, revisit,
and if necessary, reassess the US strategy for Pakistan.

Dated July 2, the letter was released to the press
today, as Clinton travelling in Pakistan announced a series
of aid to this South Asian country.

Menendez said with much of al Qaeda`s leadership
believed to reside in the tribal areas along the
Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Pakistan has received more than
USD 13 billion in US taxpayer funds since the 9/11 attacks,
USD 7.2 billion of which has been reimbursements to Pakistan`s
military.

Menendez said he has been an advocate for a smart and
comprehensive strategy-one with quantifiable metrics and
regular monitoring to ensure not only accountability, but to
provide a framework for constant improvement.

"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," he said.

"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," Menendez wrote in his letter to Clinton.

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,
and that congressional oversight and agency monitoring efforts
were needed to ensure US funds were used as intended," he
said.

The Senators said the Congress has not received the
report from her on the effectiveness of US aid to Pakistan and
the steps being taken by Pakistan against terrorists, whose
last date was April 15.

Menendez said: "Absent these reports, my concern about
our lack of a comprehensive plan to combat the terrorist
threat in the FATA was amplified by new findings from the RAND
Corporation."

RAND, he said, determined that the rising number of
terrorist plots in the US with links to Pakistan is partly a
result of an unsuccessful strategy by Pakistan and the US to
weaken the range of militant groups operating in Pakistan.

It further suggested that "currently, US assistance
focuses too little on conditioning aid on verifiable
progress."

Since September 11, 2001, the US has sent more than
USD 13 billion in military and economic foreign assistance to
Pakistan, including USD 7.2 billion in Coalition Support Funds
intended to aid in Pakistan`s fight against terrorists.

Now that the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act
has tripled non-military aid to USD 1.5 billion annually until
FY 2014, it is more critical than ever that oversight and
accountability controls are abided by to ensure that American
taxpayer money is used effectively and responsibly, he argued.

"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.

That is why in the US Senate, I have been an advocate for a
smart and comprehensive strategy-one with quantifiable metrics
and regular monitoring to ensure not only accountability, but
to provide a framework for constant improvement," he said.

"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 utilizing 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 said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 - 15:34

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