WASHINGTON: As US Senator Rand Paul picked up on his call for terminating US aid to countries such as Pakistan, Egypt and Libya where US interests have come under attack recently, Senetor John Kerry stood up on the floor to take Tea Party Senator to task.
Senator Rand Paul on Thursday asked the US Senate to pass his amendment asking for all assistance to be cut off to Pakistan, Egypt and Libya. In his remarks while debating the Veterans Jobs Corps bill, Senator Paul said that while some in Pakistan had been supportive, “many in Pakistan with a wink and a nod take our money” and laugh at the US, referring to an alleged interview between CIA facilitator Dr Shakil Afridi and Fox News. Afridi in the interview, which he later denied giving, alleged that Pakistan is trying to get as much aid from the US as it can, all the while considering it the “worst enemy”.
Paul said that the US should stop all assistance to Pakistan and return the money to the US Treasury. He added that while the US should continue to engage with Pakistan, the US did not need to bribe Pakistan. Senator Paul added that the US should also stop assistance to Egypt and Libya following the attacks on US embassies in both countries.’
In response, Senator John Kerry, who is also the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, asked Senator Paul if he had ever been to either Egypt or Pakistan. In his remarks on the floor, Senator Kerry said that he found it “stunning” when there are remarks made about those specific countries not being friendly.
Senator Kerry said that Libya and Egypt were going through a period of transition after revolutions, and added that the first few years were not easy, and highlighted the US’ history as an example. Egypt was a US ally even under former president Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
Recounting that troops in the northwestern part of Pakistan were losing their lives to militants, “and you want to cut off aid?” asked Senator Kerry.
The committee chairman reminded that US troops in Afghanistan get some supplies through the supply routes in Pakistan. Senator Kerry added the US has been able to decimate the al Qaeda with Pakistan’s help.
“Civilians are being killed in Pakistan,” he said.
Kerry added that Pakistan’s political system and population were enduring the war, and questioned Senator Paul’s statement on cutting off assistance. He reminded the senator that less than one per cent of the US budget goes to assistance abroad.
Senator Rand Paul has previously asked for all assistance to be cut off to Pakistan until Dr Shakil Afridi is released.