The Future of the U.S.-Pakistan Relationship (Rep. Ron Klein)

As we all know, the failure of the Pakistani government would be disastrous for the world. The combination of a dangerous terrorist organization, nuclear weapons and perhaps the will to kill and to proliferate is a deadly equation for the region and for the United States and its allies. Following this week’s hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs with Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, special envoy to the region, it is my opinion that we must do everything in our power to prevent this from happening.

Recently, General David Petraeus came to Palm Beach, in my congressional district, and he said that Pakistan and Afghanistan have become a single issue as they share a local terrorist threat. So, while I believe that aid to Pakistan is important, I believe that we must shape the nature of the aid. Our aid must communicate security priorities, including the Pakistani government’s assurances to safeguard the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan and to secure their nuclear facilities and weapons. Pakistan must maintain a certain level of commitment to fighting the Taliban.

In my travels to Afghanistan, I met with U.S. military leaders and local Floridians who are serving in remote areas. They tell me that the Afghani people want to live their lives without the threat of terrorism. They want to invest in their local economies and take back their neighborhoods. This will start with smart aid in Pakistan and Afghanistan and a cohesive and comprehensive plan to fight the Taliban. This administration must communicate that we expect accountability from the Pakistani and Afghani governments and use every piece of leverage we have to stabilize the region.