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After Osama bin Laden's death, Congress rethinks aid to Pakistan

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A top concern for many lawmakers was what Pakistan knew about bin Laden’s fortified complex in a garrison town about 75 miles by road from the Pakistani capital. In floor speeches, congressional hearings and comments off the floor, lawmakers challenged whether the US should continue military and economic assistance to a nation that may not be committed to the defeat of Al Qaeda.

“In a town where the Pakistani military and intelligence services own a large share of the property, Al Qaeda appears to have built a massive complex, ringed by walls as high as 18 feet, protected by barbed wire, as the dedicated hiding place for Osama bin Laden,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D) of Michigan, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee during Tuesday’s floor debate on the resolution.

“The American people [who] provided billions of dollars of aid to the Pakistani government deserve to know whether elements of Pakistan’s military and intelligence services or local officials knew of bin Laden’s location over the five years or so he was there – and if they did not know, how that could possibly be the case.”

Rep. Ted Poe (R) of Texas is proposing legislation that would cut off future aid unless the US State Department certifies that Pakistan was not “providing sanctuary” to bin Laden. The Obama administration is requesting $3 billion in foreign aid to Pakistan in fiscal year 2012, along with $2.3 billion in funding to boost that nation’s counterterrorism capacity.

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