Washington (CNN) - There is growing support in Congress for cutting off some U.S. aid to Pakistan because leaders there turn a blind eye to terrorists who go after U.S. targets, the powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Tuesday.
"I believe there is strong feeling inside the Democratic group of senators, and probably inside Republican senators as well, that the continued harboring of the Haqqani network and the Quetta Shura by the Pakistanis, where those people are crossing the border freely and killing our troops and Afghan troops, represents a real problem in terms of continuing financial support for Pakistan," Sen. Carl Levin told reporters in a Capitol hallway.
Both the Haqqani network and the Quetta Shura have ties to the Pakistani Taliban.
The Michigan Democrat declined to go into specifics about what U.S. funding he is considering withholding from Pakistan, but there is a $2.3 billion pending request from the Defense Department for Pakistan's counterinsurgency efforts.
After Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid into Pakistan earlier this month, Levin was an early critic of Pakistanis, saying he did not believe it was credible that they did not know the terrorist was living under their noses.
Until now the Senate Armed Services chairman has been careful not to call for cutting off financial aid to Pakistan, noting that the government there is, in fact, helping the United States and is a critical ally in some areas.
Levin made clear he is not considering a complete cessation of U.S. financial assistance to Pakistan but, he said, he and others are increasingly frustrated with the government in Islamabad for not rooting out terror groups like the Haqqani network, which officials believe runs training camps in North Waziristan, in the mountainous region of northern Pakistan.
"There is a real problem with continuing financial support with Pakistan when they continue to support the Haqqani network," Levin said. "These are people killing us, and it's open. It's not like bin Laden when they deny they knew bin Laden was there for five years. That was pretty hard to accept but that's what they say. They don't say they don't know where the Haqqanis are. They do know where the Haqqanis are - they're in North Waziristan."
Asked about Levin's comments, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stuck by his earlier position that it is too soon to discuss choking financial assistance to Pakistan.
"This is the time that we have to withhold judgment," he said, adding that there "will be hearings; there will be discussions in the White House. There will be diplomatic activities take place."
good news... no more dead or wounded soldiers... no more wasted money... get out sooner rather than later...osoma is dead...
You haven't cut the whole ball of wax yet. Well we need to take a long look at you congressment come voting time. I'm sure you can find another way of supporting our troops in Afghanistan instead of funding Terriost in Pakistan. Just like the traitorious Administration we now have in power in Washington. RUN PALIN 2012 throw the bums out.
Just think, they want to cut Medicare, but keep sending billions to Pakistan and other countries. Doesn't that sound a little odd to you?
Use the 2 billion instead for gas help so poor folks can get to work or go looking for a job.
Pakistan gets money from the IMF so go ahead and dump them besides that President Bush has paid the former president of Pakistan millions already.
Yes yes yes – cut it ALL. Stop sending our hard-earned tax $ to all Mid-East nations – including Israel. We are broke and need to build schools, roads and bridges in the USA not overseas. Plus pull-out ALL of troops from Iraq and Afganistan ASAP. That isn't free either. Let our military regroup, rest and fight another day. Not much left they can do. The War on Terror is bankrupting us by doubling our defense budget, doubling "security" spending...and there is no real military solution.
We need to pull-out of the mid-east , stop taking sides, stop occupying, stop sending $$$ to dictators. Only a political solution can "win" the War on Terror.
For me not just only some, I think United States should cut all because Pakistan is not our friend at all.
We have to stop funding countries that don't give "two shakes of a lamb's tail" about us!!! We are also NOT the world's police department.
BRING OUR BOYS HOWE!!! Stop funding countries who 'DO NOT' care about or appreciate us!!!
OBL is dead, and that was the reason for going into this conflict.
Job #1 is done, bring our troops home now!