Thursday, May 14, 2009

Holbrooke Defends Pakistan Funds as Senators Question U.S. Plan

Holbrooke Defends Pakistan Funds as Senators Question U.S. Plan; Bloomberg

U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke defended requests for further aid to Pakistan and more troops for Afghanistan yesterday as senators took issue with the Obama administration’s plan to defeat extremists.

“We do have a comprehensive strategy” and “we do have benchmarks,” Holbrooke told Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who said he was skeptical of expanding funding for Pakistan’s military.

“I’m reticent to continuously vote” for more money “without knowing that there is a strategic plan,” Menendez said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing where concerns were expressed that billions of dollars have been wasted in an unsuccessful fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. “I get no sense of reassurance from what I’ve heard.”

The Obama administration is seeking money to help Pakistan fend off a Taliban insurgency and to support the war effort in neighboring Afghanistan. The U.S. is increasing forces in Afghanistan and on May 11 replaced the top American commander in the country. ...

Comment: Wow a strategic plan...that Menendez is a sharp guy.

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