Pakistan urged to do more to prevent IED attacks

{mosads}The hearing by the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on South Asia follows the release this week of a Pentagon report on “Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan.” The report found that relations have improved since Pakistan reopened NATO supply routes to Afghanistan earlier this year but that many issues remain.

“Pakistan’s continued acceptance of sanctuaries for Afghan-focused insurgents and failure to interdict IED materials and components continue to undermine the security of Afghanistan and pose an enduring threat to U.S., Coalition, and Afghan forces,” the report concluded.

The hearing was called by subcommittee Chairman Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who has introduced legislation to cut some security assistance to Pakistan unless the country makes more progress on cracking down on the IED threat.

The top State Department official working on the IED issue testified that the United States and Pakistan have seen a “substantive change in the tone and content” in their discussions over the past year. Both countries have been working to put their relations “on surer footing,” Jonathan Carpenter said, following last year’s raid against Osama bin Laden and the accidental killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers by U.S. forces. 

“Overall,” Carpenter testified, “it must be said that Pakistan’s efforts to combat IEDs, while now going in a constructive direction, remain incomplete.”

In particular, U.S. officials testified, the Obama administration wants to see Pakistan make greater efforts to prosecute people arrested for IED attacks; implement U.N. sanctions against people designated as supporting the insurgency in Afghanistan; and require the fertilizer and commercial explosives industries to avoid the diversion of their products.

Carper and military officials headed to a closed briefing on the situation following the open hearing.

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