Congressman Adam Smith made the following statement applauding the passage of the Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2009, which passed the House today by a vote of 234-185.  

“Pakistan is an ally and essential strategic partner in our fight against violent extremism as well as our goals for preventing narcotics trafficking and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Yet, Pakistan faces tremendous internal and external destabilizing pressures and needs our assistance. That is why I am pleased to support legislation that provides the critical resources necessary to bolster the Pakistani government and develop a more constructive, accountable relationship with the United States.”

“This bill provides funding and support to train the Pakistani military in the crucial counterinsurgency capabilities needed to defeat violent extremist groups within or near its borders. It also provides funding to support economic, social and democratic development by strengthening democratic institutions, reinforcing the judicial system, developing infrastructure, spurring jobs creation, expanding public education and providing aid to refugees. This funding is vital to undermine the efforts of violent extremists, strengthen domestic support for the Pakistani government and move the country toward stability. Additionally, the legislation includes accountability provisions to ensure that Pakistan is using our security assistance in a manner consistent with U.S. national security interests.

“Further, the House-passed bill includes provisions from legislation that I have advocated for to establish Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) in Afghanistan and Pakistan. These ROZs, where non-trade-sensitive exports would be permitted to enter the U.S. duty-free, will deter al-Qaeda and Taliban recruitment efforts by offering economic alternatives to joining the insurgency.  

“President Zadari cannot win the battle against violent extremism through military means alone. This is an essential approach that strikes a balance between security and development assistance to ensure that the Pakistani government has the tools, knowledge and funding necessary to push back recent advancements by violent extremists and provide a strong, effective government for the Pakistani people.