Kyl: Pakistan needs 'tough diplomacy'

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Sunday the U.S. should make it clear to Pakistan that financial support is dependent on their continued cooperation one day after tensions flared over a NATO strike in the country.

"There's a lot of diplomacy that has to occur and it has to be tough diplomacy in the sense that they need to understand that our support for them financially is dependent on their cooperation with us," said Kyl on Fox News Sunday.

But he cautioned that the diplomatic crisis was "not the kind of situation where you just cut off all assistance because we do need them in the region." "It's very important to maintain a relationship for the long haul," added Kyl.


On Saturday, a NATO air strike in northwest Pakistan resulted in the deaths of at least 24 Pakistani troops.  Islamabad blasted the attack, calling it "unprovoked" and "irresponsible," according to news reports and retaliated by shutting off supply routes for troops in Afghanistan and by asking the U.S. to abandon an air base used for armed drone attacks.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Democrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 Poll: Warren leads Biden in Maine by 12 points MORE expressed their “deepest condolences for the loss of life.” Both secretaries reached out to their Pakistani counterparts as the U.S. worked to defuse tensions.

Senate Majority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenators take fundraising efforts to Nats playoff games Overnight Health Care: Watchdog finds DEA allowed more opioids even as overdose deaths rose | Judge temporarily blocks Georgia abortion law | Three states report more vaping deaths | Dem proposes new fix for surprise medical bills During impeachment storm, senators cross aisle to lessen mass incarceration MORE (D-Ill.) also on Fox said he was "saddened" by the loss of life. "Imagine how we would feel if it had been 24 American soldiers killed by Pakistani forces at this moment," he said.

Durbin said the incident reinforced his belief that American troops needed to be brought home from the region.

"Keep in mind that as difficult as it is to find our way through this diplomatic morass between the incompetence and maybe corruption in Afghanistan and the complicity in parts of Pakistan, our soldiers are caught right in the middle of this," Durbin said. "At a time when they're trying to bring peace to this region, I think it's an argument, from my point of view, of moving us toward the day when our American soldiers come home."

"We've got to leave it to the Afghan forces to meet the challenge and bring American forces home," he added.