By Arun Kumar
Washington, (IANS) Support for cutting off some US aid to Pakistan because leaders there turn a blind eye to terrorists who go after US targets is growing in US Congress, according to a key senator.
"The continued harbouring of the Haqqani network and the Quetta Shura by the Pakistanis... represents a real problem in terms of continuing financial support for Pakistan," Carl Levin, the powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee told reporters Tuesday.
"These are people killing us, and it's open. It's not like (slain Al Qaeda leader Osama) bin Laden when they deny they knew bin Laden was there for five years," he said.
"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."
Both the Haqqani network and the Quetta Shura have ties to the Pakistani Taliban.
The Democrat senator, however, declined to go into specifics about what US funding he is considering withholding from Pakistan, but there is a $2.3 billion pending request from the Defence Department for Pakistan's counterinsurgency efforts.
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.
Meanwhile, White House spokesman Jay Carney maintained "that the relationship that the United States has with Pakistan is very important, it's complex and it's sometimes complicated.
"But it is vital to our national security interests, and maintaining that cooperative relationship is a high priority," he said.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)