Friday, April 13, 2012

U.S. Lawmaker Questions Approaches To Pakistan, Afghanistan

Congressman Rohrabacher thinks the U.S. is paying now for past mistakes in the region (AFP)
A U.S. congressman who once traveled with mujahedin fighters as they battled Soviet forces in Afghanistan says Pakistan has been exerting a negative influence on stability in the region.

"I would prefer the money to have gone to our friends in Afghanistan directly," Rohrabacher told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan. "Even during the war against the Soviets and our efforts to try to help the Afghan people drive the Soviet troops out, much of our aid was just handed to the Pakistanis who distributed it to who they saw fit. And the Pakistanis, through the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence agency], actually provided money to the worst-possible crazy people -- on both sides of the border, both in Pakistan and in Afghanistan.
"People like [the renegade Afghan warlord] Gulbuddin Hekmatyar should not have been receiving the aid from the United States," Rohrabacher said. "There were more positive people there who were less crazy and less bloodthirsty than Hekmatyar and some of the others. And so others were short-changed. And the Pakistanis delivered the lion's share of this to radicals who even hated democracy in the West. So I've been upset with our policies toward Pakistan."

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