Today, Senator Mark Udall, a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence committees, said he supports President Obama’s decision to cut U.S. military aid to Pakistan by nearly one billion dollars over the next year.
“I’ve expressed my concern about military aid to Pakistan for some time, and I support the decision to pull back now. Like it or not, Pakistan and the United States share national security concerns that would make it a mistake for us to walk away entirely. Nevertheless, we can’t continue to provide military aid at current levels unless Pakistan acts more like a partner in our efforts to eradicate extremists and bring stability to south Asia.
“We need to make sure our aid is being used effectively. Serious questions have been raised about Pakistan’s commitment to counter insurgents within its own borders. We must continue to emphasize to the Pakistanis that it’s in their interest to work with us to fight extremism. I look forward to discussing with the administration what the next steps will be,” Udall said.
Obama’s decision to cut aid to Pakistan came over the weekend.
The Obama administration is suspending and, in some cases, canceling hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to the Pakistani military, in a move to chasten Pakistan for expelling American military trainers and to press its army to fight militants more effectively.
Coupled with a statement from the top American military officer last week linking Pakistan’s military spy agency to the recent murder of a Pakistani journalist, the halting or withdrawal of military equipment and other aid to Pakistan illustrates the depth of the debate inside the Obama administration over how to change the behavior of one of its key counterterrorism partners.
Altogether, about $800 million in military aid and equipment, or over one-third of the more than $2 billion in annual American security assistance to Pakistan, could be affected, three senior United States officials said.