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Some U.S. lawmakers say aid to Pakistan should continue

05-06-2011 08:36 BJT

WASHINGTON, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Some key U.S. lawmakers said on Thursday that U.S. aid to Pakistan should continue despite reports accusing Pakistani military or intelligence officials of providing support to the hiding of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

John Boehner, speaker of U.S. House of Representatives, said on Thursday that the United States and Pakistan needed to maintain cooperation.

He told reporters that "It's not a time to back away from Pakistan, it's time for more engagement with them, not less."

"Frankly, I believe our aid should continue to Pakistan," he added.

Democratic Senator John Kerry and Republican Senator Richard Lugar also said the U.S. should not jump to a conclusion on aid until a probe is done.

"Nothing obviously would excuse the harboring of the number one criminal in the world, but we need to explore carefully exactly what the facts are," said John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Kerry said at a Senate hearing that the U.S. needed Pakistan's help to fight extremists and also to supply the U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Richard Lugar said that the damaged U.S.-Pakistan relations would hurt U.S. intelligence operations.

"Distancing ourselves from Pakistan would be unwise and extremely dangerous," he said.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that U.S. and European intelligence officials increasingly believe active or retired Pakistani military or intelligence officials provided some measure of aid to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, allowing him to stay hidden in a large compound just a mile from an elite military academy on the outskirts of Islamabad until he was killed on Sunday in a U.S. military operation.

U.S. Congress has approved some 20 billion U.S. dollars in direct aid and military payments to Pakistan since 2001.

 

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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