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U.S. Secretary of State: White House Reviewing Policy Options On Pakistan


U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 13

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. administration was reviewing all policy options and aid for Pakistan, as House lawmakers criticized the U.S approach toward Islamabad.

Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on June 14 that Washington had "very complex relations with Pakistan."

The U.S. relationship "touches on some much broader issues, including stability in Afghanistan," he said.

Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher voiced angry criticism of Pakistan, as he pushed Tillerson to consider cutting off aid.

"They’ve been two-faced with us for so long now. Pakistan is acknowledged… as the main source of terrorism in that part of the world," Rohrabacher told Tillerson.

"If we don’t succeed in Afghanistan, it is because of ISI in Pakistan," Rohrabacher said, referring to Pakistan's secret service, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Pakistan is among the top recipients of U.S. aid, with $742 million earmarked for the fiscal year of 2017, according to the U.S. government.

The deteriorating situation in neighboring Afghanistan has risen in importance to become a top priority for President Donald Trump's administration.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on June 14 that he had been given authorization to increase U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, though he said there would be no immediate change in levels, which currently stand at 8,400.

He said he intends to set U.S. troop levels consistent with Trump's "strategic direction and his foreign policy."

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