WASHINGTON: Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and Republican Congressman Mike Rogers said, on Friday, that the United States should not end ties with Pakistan. However, he said, unilateral action in the country by the US should not be ruled out.
Addressing an event held by the conservative think tank, The American Enterprise Institute, Representative Rogers said that unilateral action should not be taken off the table when it comes to US’ national security interests.
“An example of that would be the Osama Bin Laden raid. I’m not saying that’s going to happen again but I’m just saying that you cannot take it off the table, you cannot tell them that no we won’t ever do that again. We should do what keeps American’s national security interests alive and well, we hope we don’t have to get to do that, we’d like them to be better partners, but at the end of the day we need to keep all of our options open.”
Rogers stressed on the importance of engagement with the country, and criticized the Congress for threatening to cut off aid to Pakistan. “If we don’t engage in Pakistan, I guarantee you, it will get worse.” He added that the relationship with Pakistan is one that the US cannot walk away from. Praising Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) for developing and carrying out the raid that led to al Qaeda leader Younus al Mauritani’s arrest, he called it a good but small step ahead.
In response to a question, the Congressman said that before 9/11, Pakistan had never sent troops into the tribal areas, which was a decision that they made not just for their national security, but also for the US. He added that he often reminded people that Pakistan had lost thousands of people in acts of violence in the last decade.
Citing the oft-repeated cliché that Pakistan is an army with a country, Rogers expressed concern over his assessment that ISI and the Pakistan Army were far more powerful than the civilian institutions, and said that the latter must be strengthened. He added that Pakistan needed to realize that there was no such thing as a good terrorist, which would help improve relations between both countries.
In response to another questions, Rogers said that they did not know whether senior al Qaeda leaders had moved to Somalia or Yemen, however he did not rule out the possibility. He also added that safe havens in Pakistan were less safe than before. He cited Osama Bin Laden’s example of having left the tribal areas due to security reasons.
Rogers’ remarks came as relations between Pakistan and the US traded a series of bitter remarks on the Haqqani Network following the attack in Kabul earlier this week.
On Sunday, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is scheduled to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in New York. While, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen will also be meeting the Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani in Seville, Spain later today.
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