From AP - News Headlines -

Sen. Lugar Says America Must Engage Pakistan

U.S. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana says the U.S. must continue to deal with Pakistan despite the fact that relations between the two countries are strained following the death of Osama bin Laden.

"Distancing ourselves from Pakistan would be unwise and extremely dangerous," said Lugar.

Lugar's comments came during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held Thursday.

The hearing dealt specifically with the U.S. policy toward Pakistan. Lugar, the committee's ranking Republican, said he wants to understand whether Pakistani officials knew bin Laden was hiding in the military town of Abbottabad.

He told Senators and experts at the hearing that America's trust in Pakistan has been shaken, but the relationship must continue.

To stop, he said, would "weaken our intelligence gathering. Further complicate military operations in Afghanistan. In short, Pakistan is a strategically vital country which we must engage for our own national security."

Committee chair Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, echoed Lugar's statements, saying America should not rush into a situation that hurts its interests.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Categories: Government, Politics