August 26, 2011

Joint Statement from Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on their visit to Pakistan August 24-27

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, led a congressional delegation comprised of Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to Pakistan for three days of talks with Pakistani leaders. The delegation met with Prime Minister Gilani, Defense Minister Mukhtar, Chief of Army Staff General Kayani and leaders of parliament to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues, including how to cooperate in disrupting the terrorist networks responsible for the roadside bombs that have claimed the lives of hundreds of American soldiers in Afghanistan and thousands of Pakistani civilians and law-enforcement personnel.

“Roadside bombs have been the gravest threat to U.S. troops in Afghanistan,” said Senator Casey.  “I am in Pakistan to discuss a number of security concerns with an emphasis on working with Pakistani government officials to prevent materials used to make roadside bombs from entering Afghanistan.  In our meetings, Pakistani officials told us about their plans to address this terrible threat and I look forward to working with them in the implementation phase.” 

Senator Whitehouse noted, “This week, our delegation met with senior Pakistani officials to discuss the importance of disrupting the terrorist networks providing improvised explosive devices (“IEDs”) that are used against our troops and against Pakistani citizens.  This grave threat has claimed thousands of American and Pakistani lives. I am encouraged by the dialogue we had, and optimistic that we can cooperate on this critical issue.”

Senator Bennet remarked, “I was pleased to join Senator Casey and other colleagues to underscore the importance of curbing the spread of ingredients used to make roadside bombs and to discuss with Pakistan’s leadership the need to forge policies to combat terrorism in the region and around the world.”

“In my meetings with the highest level Pakistani officials,” Senator Blumenthal said, “I have urged stronger action against the misuse of everyday materials by terrorist groups in making bombs that kill and maim our troops in Afghanistan.  Our nations have suffered grave losses from these terrorist bombs that target our courageous American war-fighters as well as innocent civilians.  I am absolutely committed to combating the flow of bomb-making materials and other weapons across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.  The Pakistanis have a plan and we should support it.”


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