(CNN) - Two of Pakistan's key supporters in the U.S. Congress have acknowledged "real and serious questions" about Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, but defend sending money to that country nonetheless.
During a Senate hearing Wednesday assessing the limits of U.S policy in Pakistan, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D- Massachusetts, said that although he is "curious" about whether components of Pakistan's military or intelligence services were involved in protecting the compound's infamous resident, the U.S. should not rush to judgment that might ultimately hurt its national security.
"No matter what we learn about the events that preceded the killing of Osama bin Laden, we still have vital national security interests in this region, and we have worked hard to build a partnership with Pakistan, fragile and difficult and challenged as it may be at times," Kerry said.
Committee Ranking Member Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, said that recent events have raised questions about Pakistan's reliability as an ally, but cautioned that it is "a strategically vital country with which we must engage."
"Distancing ourselves from Pakistan would be unwise and extremely dangerous," Lugar said, because it would weaken U.S. intelligence capabilities, limit America's ability to prevent conflict between India and Pakistan, and further complicate military operations in Afghanistan.
Lugar also pointed out that Pakistan is a nuclear-armed state, has a close working relationship with China, and is a neighbor of Iran, all of which he cited as worthwhile reasons to build stronger relations between Washington and Islamabad.FULL STORY
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