WASHINGTON: US Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein said Tuesday that cutting military or economic aid to Pakistan would be unhelpful but warned that calls to do so had strong congressional support.
“I don’t think that’s useful,” she told reporters one day after Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called for a full review of ties to Pakistan with an eye on potentially restricting or cutting US assistance.
“My understanding is that there’s some overtures under way to restore the relationship. Well, that’s fine, but I suspect that if a bill were to come to the floor which fenced money, the bill would have a good chance of passing,” she said.
US lawmakers have expressed mounting anger at Pakistan, accusing military and intelligence officials there of supporting the Islamist Haqqani network blamed here for attacks on US forces and targets in Afghanistan.
“I can only express my profound disappointment with the relationship” and the “deterioration” in an already troubled alliance that “goes up and down, and up and down, and up and down,” she said.
“My very strong feeling is you can’t walk both sides of the street with respect to terror,” said Feinstein.
Ties between Washington and Islamabad plummeted after a US commando raid killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad, just two hours drive north of the capital Islamabad, in May.
Relations slid to a new low last month when NATO air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border, prompting Pakistan to boycott an international conference in Bonn on Afghanistan’s future.
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