Pakistan very engaged & cooperative in fight against terrorism: Kerry
During the hearing in Washington DC, he also defended his government’s proposed sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan saying that they were a “critical tool” in Islamabad’s fight against terrorism.
Furthermore, the US administration’s decision to sell F-16s to Pakistan has come in the face of strong opposition from some American members of Congress and the Indian government as well.
Republican Senator John McCain has said he would like a special hearing of Congress on this issue while another Republican Senator, Rand Paul, has moved a resolution to halt the sales of the aircraft.
The US Secretary of State told the Congressional hearing that Pakistan had “lost some 50,000 people in the last few years, including soldiers to the terrorists that are threatening Pakistan itself”.
He said that the US government was “sensitive to the balance, obviously, with respect to India” but that it believed that the F-16s are an important part of Pakistan’s ability to fight terrorism and militancy.
“Needless to say, we don’t want to do things that upset the balance, but we do believe that Pakistan is engaged legitimately in a very tough fight against identifiable terrorists in their country that threaten Pakistan,” Secretary Kerry said.
He also said that Pakistan had deployed “150,000 to 180,000 soldiers” on its western border but that this didn’t mean that more didn’t need to be done.
“We think that more could be done. We’re particularly concerned about the sanctuary components of Pakistan, and we’re particularly concerned about some individual entities in Pakistan that have been supportive of relationships with some of the people that we consider extremely dangerous to our interests in Afghanistan; Haqqani Network, is a prime example of that,” he said.