On Friday, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) introduced H.R. 6391, a bill to remove the major non-NATO ally (MNNA) status from Pakistan.
"It's time to break with Pakistan, but at the very least, we should stop providing them the eligibility to obtain our own sophisticated weaponry in an expedited process. Too many of our own men and women have died because of Islamabad's treachery."
In 2004, then-President Bush granted Pakistan MNNA status in an effort to get Pakistan to help the U.S. fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban. MNNA status is significant, granting critical benefits in the areas of foreign aid and defense cooperation. A MNNA country is eligible for priority delivery of defense material, an expedited arms sale process, and a U.S. loan guarantee program, which backs up loans issued by private banks to finance arms exports. It can also stockpile U.S. military hardware, participate in defense research and development programs, and be sold more sophisticated weaponry.
Eight years after its designation, the evidence shows that Pakistan has in fact been no ally of the U.S. It has cut off the supply route to our troops in Afghanistan, refusing to re-open it without the U.S. apologizing and paying three times as much as before. It harbors and cooperates with the Taliban who kill American troops. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, which is American soil, was twice attacked by what U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker described as "Pakistan-based insurgents." Last fall, then Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen called the terrorist Haqqani network in Pakistan's tribal regions, the suspect behind the embassy attack, a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's intelligence service. Most recently, Islamabad arrested and convicted the heroic doctor who, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta "intelligence that was very helpful" in identifying the exact location of Osama bin Laden.
Pakistan is the Benedict Arnold nation in the list of countries that we call allies. It's time to remove a designation that brings privileges it does not deserve.
Congressman Ted Poe (TX-2) is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Anti-Terrorism Caucus.