When our forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the goal was simple: remove the terrorist group, the Taliban government that sheltered the plotters of the 9/11 attacks on America, and destroy al-Qaida, a terrorist group. This was a NATO operation.
A little history is in order. The United States was attacked. The member nations of NATO agreed that this was an attack on one nation, and NATO agreed to retaliate to the terrorist attack under article 5 of the NATO agreement.
Article 5 has been talked about recently in the press. So these 28 nations, NATO, went into Afghanistan, a haven for terrorists who sought to attack and kill Americans.
That was 16 years ago. This is the longest war in American history, and yet it is still going on.
Let's examine how all of this is taking place and center on one nation, Pakistan, and their role in all of this. The Taliban, since that attack, has waged an insurgency in Afghanistan, a neighbor to Pakistan, and destabilized the country, creating a perfect condition for terrorists to exploit in Afghanistan and spread that terrorist activity to other parts of the world.
The Taliban and al-Qaida have launched many of their attacks in Afghanistan from their neighbor, Pakistan. Recently, a Taliban sneak attack killed more than 160 Afghan soldiers, prompting the defense minister and the army chief of staff to resign.
The Taliban, a terrorist group, doesn't just stage attacks. They seize territory.
The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction said, in January, that 172 Afghan districts are controlled, influenced, and contested by the Taliban. Al-Qaida has a long history and loyalty to the Taliban--two terrorist groups working together.
Osama bin Laden swore his allegiance to the Taliban's leader, Mullah Omar, even before the 9/11 attack on the United States. When bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, Ayman al-Zawahiri renewed that oath and cemented ties between al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Wherever the Taliban is, you will see that al-Qaida is not far behind. Since 2010, the United States incorrectly claimed that al-Qaida had just a little, small presence in the country, limited to only 50 or 100 fighters. Well, we know now that is absolutely incorrect.
Then, in 2015, the shocking U.S. raid in Afghanistan uncovered a massive al-Qaida training camp for terrorists, rounding up over 150 al-Qaida terrorist activity individuals. This was more fighters in one raid than the U.S. claimed existed in the entire country.
By the end of last year, U.S. officials announced that 250 al-Qaida terrorists were killed or captured in 2016. The point here is that United States intelligence has been wrong about the activity of terrorists in Pakistan and in Afghanistan, but we are getting it right now.
Along with al-Qaida in Afghanistan, we have another terrorist group--I should have brought a chart to list all of these--the Haqqani Network. Who are these folks?
It is another terrorist group linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban. The Haqqani Network is responsible for more American deaths in the region than any of the other terrorist groups that I have already mentioned.
The Haqqani Network attacks inside Afghanistan, and they have been directly traced back to Pakistan. All roads to terror lead to Pakistan.
In fact, in 2011, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified to the Senate, ``the Haqqani Network acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency.'' What is that?
That is the military arm of the Pakistan Government working with terrorist groups throughout the world. The truth is, Pakistan has ties to about every terrorist group in Afghanistan, and we know that the Taliban terrorist group is based out of Pakistan.
It came as no surprise that when the U.S. drone strike killed the leader of the Taliban in 2016, guess where he was? He was in Pakistan hiding out.
There is a laundry list of evidence of Pakistan's support for terrorist groups, and I think a little more history is in order because this activity by Pakistan has been going on for years and has been below the radar. So let's just list some of the counts of the indictment against Pakistan and their terrorist activity.
Let's go back to 1980. Pakistan actively assisted countries like North Korea, Iran, and Libya in their efforts to build a nuclear weapon. Now, where are we today?
Iran, the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world, got some of its nuclear ability from Pakistan. North Korea, on the other side of the globe, guess what, they are developing nuclear capability, and we can trace some of their roots for their science back to Pakistan.
Since 1980, Pakistan has provided a safe haven and support, as I mentioned, for the Haqqani Network. The Haqqani Network operates many places in the world, including Lebanon, a threat to Israel.
Since the 1980s, Pakistan has hosted multiple madrassas that indoctrinate thousands of Pakistani young who join radical groups. That is a nice way of saying terrorist groups.
One Pakistan madrassa, which receives millions of dollars in state funding, has so many prominent terrorists in its alumni that it has the name of the University of Jihad. I will continue.
Since 1990, Pakistan has supported terrorist groups in Kashmir, like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, called the LeT, and other terrorist groups in its proxy war with India. These groups have carried out attacks inside India, such as the 2001 attack against the Indian Parliament.
Since the 1990s, Pakistan has allowed those terrorist groups like the LeT to openly fundraise in the country of Pakistan. Beginning in the 1990s, Pakistan provided training, advisers, intelligence, and material support for the Afghan Taliban, a specific terrorist group that operates in Afghanistan based in Pakistan.
Pakistan had forged the alliance between the al-Qaida and the Taliban before 9/11, and Hamid Gul, the former head of Pakistan's ISI, is called the father of the Taliban. Pakistani nuclear scientists met with senior al-Qaida--this is a terrorist group--leadership in 1998, to discuss the terrorist group's desire to acquire nuclear technology.
In 1998, several Pakistani officers were killed in an al-Qaida training camp by the United States. Well, what were they doing there?
They were training the al-Qaida in terrorist activities. This was a retaliation by the U.S. for the Africa Embassy bombings.
In 2001, Pakistan ISI helped revive the Afghan Taliban after it was defeated by the United States in the Northern Alliance. While Pakistan is fighting the Pakistani Taliban, it allows the Afghan Taliban, or what it refers to as the good Taliban, to operate freely in its territory.
Let me try to explain this. There is the Pakistani Taliban. It operates in Pakistan.
The Pakistan Government goes after those people because they are causing crimes in Pakistan. But there is the Afghan Taliban that operates out of Pakistan that is supported by ISI and works in Afghanistan to kill NATO forces, including Americans.
Pakistan says: oh, we are after terrorists. We are going after them. They are only going after those terrorists that operate in their country against Pakistanis, not terrorist groups that operate in other parts of the world against Americans.
After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Osama bin Laden and many senior al-Qaida leaders fled to Pakistan. Many of them are still there.
Pakistan facilitated arms purchases and foreign fighter flows for al-Qaida as the war continued.
Since 2004, eight major terrorist plots against Western countries were planned in Pakistan. In 2008, the GAO--that is the folks who take care of our money, or at least try to track it--found that the Pakistan Government may have falsified claimed costs for providing support to the United States-led military operations.
What does that mean? We give to the Pakistan Government to help their military supposedly go after terrorists, and they give us back vouchers to say: well, this is what we did.
Well, our government went through these vouchers and found out that Pakistan lied about this. They were asking for money for an activity that never occurred.
So they tried to cheat the American public on these reimbursements. And there is more.
In November 2008, LeT conducted the Mumbai attack in India that killed more than 160 people with Pakistani assistance. Remember, LeT is a terrorist group.
In 2009, a Taliban leader, who had begun peace negotiations with the Afghan Government to stop the killing and the war, was arrested by Pakistan authorities for negotiating a peace talk because Pakistan did not want and does not want peace in Afghanistan. In 2010, Pakistani intelligence is believed to have leaked the identity of an American CIA intelligence chief based in Pakistan. Of course, he had to flee the country.
In 2010, Pakistan closed the NATO supply route in Afghanistan for one week in response to NATO's helicopter strike that killed three Pakistani soldiers. Documents leaked in 2010 revealed direct meetings between ISI and the Taliban to organize and orchestrate attacks on American soldiers in Afghanistan.
That was in 2010. I will continue. The terrorist perpetrator of the 2010 attempted car bombings in Times Square, that is in the United States, was known to have undergone weapons training in Pakistan.
In 2011, Osama bin Laden, we all know who he was, the number one terrorist in world history, well, he was found and killed in Abbottabad outside of Pakistan's version of West Point. In other words, you have a military installation, you have Osama bin Laden hiding in his big old home there, and the Pakistanis had been hiding him out.
He was found there, Americans went and took him out, didn't tell the Pakistani Government because they would have moved him again. We have evidence that Pakistan supports terrorism.
What happened was, Pakistan scrambled American-made jets to go after the Americans who took out the Taliban. Fortunately, the Americans were able to get away and they were not attacked by the Pakistan Government.
To show how supportive Pakistan is, one of our helicopters, you may remember, had stealth on one of its rotors. Well, it crashed there, and they turned that evidence over to the Chinese and let them take whatever evidence they wanted to show the stealth in that helicopter.
In 2011, Pakistan jailed Dr. Afridi, who helped the United States track down Osama bin Laden, and he is still in jail. So Pakistan claims that they are a help to the U.S. in tracking down terrorism in the world, but they are not.
The evidence shows the difference. Whose side is Pakistan really on?
After the 2011 raid to kill Osama bin Laden, Pakistan, as I said, invited the Chinese to inspect the wreckage on the stealth helicopter that the U.S. forces left behind. If people are allies of the U.S., they don't turn over technology to China.
Once again in 2011, Pakistan ISI poisoned CIA Chief Mark Kelton following the Osama bin Laden raid. In 2011, Pakistan shelling killed 42 Afghanistan civilians.
Pakistan is notorious for its blasphemy laws which are used to persecute numerous minorities, including Christians. Asia Bibi, a Pakistan Christian mother of five, was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2011.
Pakistan launched counterterrorism raids in 2014 into the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, yet turned a blind eye to the Haqqani Network and the Afghanistan Taliban operatives in the area. In September of 2016, Pakistani terrorists attacked an Indian military base in Kashmir, killing 17 Indian soldiers. Indian officials say the terrorists were from a group backed by the Pakistani ISI and were using weapons with Pakistani markings.
In 2017, Pakistani cross-border shelling forced hundreds of Afghanistan villagers to flee their homes and further strained relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Well, no kidding.
Let me give you some other evidence and let me make this clear. The issue here is not the people of Pakistan. The issue is not Americans of Pakistani descent.
Our quarrel and our issue is not with those folks. I represent a lot of Pakistani Americans. Good folks. Hardworking individuals. The issue is with the United States' relationship with the Government of Pakistan that is playing the United States.
Recently, before the United Nations Security Council, H.E. Mahmoud Saikal, Ambassador, Permanent Representative from Afghanistan spoke to the U.N. He has an excellent speech.
The speech is Afghanistan's relationship with Pakistan. I am not going to read his entire speech, but I do want to make a couple of comments from his point of view about Pakistan and their terrorist activity.
He says: “In recent months, dozens of terrorist attacks across Afghanistan have claimed scores of innocent lives. In January, three simultaneous terrorist attacks in Kabul, Kandahar, and Helmand provinces killed and maimed over 160, including six UAE diplomats. In February, the Supreme Court, our symbol of justice, was attacked, causing numerous fatalities. Last week, two separate attacks in the heart of Kabul killed many civilians. Finally, just two days ago, Afghanistan's largest hospital was attacked, leaving over 140 killed and wounded, many of whom were doctors, nurses, and patients. The Taliban--terrorist group--have claimed responsibility for most of these attacks, but regardless of whose names are being labeled on these attacks, our own investigations have clearly established that they were generally plotted beyond our frontiers,'' namely, in Pakistan.
I include in the Record the entire speech of the Ambassador to the U.N.
I will just make one more comment on the speech. The Ambassador says: ``Pakistan talks one policy, but walks the other.'' I will continue.
The World Muhajir Congress has written a letter to the United States Congress. Who are these folks?
Well, they represent the views and interests of the Muhajirs. They are descendants of Muslims who migrated from India to Pakistan at the time of the partition of India in 1947.
They write a letter, and the title of their letter is: ``World Muhajir Congress request U.S. Congress to cut off military aid to Pakistan.'' They go into detail talking about the terrorist activity of the Government of Pakistan, and not only in Pakistan, but in borders across the world.
They “request Trump administration and the U.S. Congress to cut off military aid to Pakistan. Pakistan army and intelligence agency ISI is mainly using this military aid--American military aid--to kill innocent Muhajirs, Baloch, and Pashtoons. The double game of Pakistan's security establishment with U.S. administration must come to an end, which has put lives of U.S. and NATO soldiers in danger in Afghanistan.”
I include in the Record the letter.
So what does all this mean? I have given 20 or 30 enumerated counts of an indictment against Pakistan, alleging them of supporting terrorism in the world. What can we do about it?
Pakistan is not an ally of the United States. But the United States, every year, gives millions of dollars to Pakistan.
Congress has even brought this up before, has tried to cut some of that money off. It has passed the House, but it has never passed and become law. And we continue to give them money.
The United States does not, and should not, continue to give Pakistan money because the money we give them goes to ISI, and that money goes to support terrorist activity in Afghanistan that kills Americans. Why are we doing this?
But we continue to do it, for some reason that I think is absurd. So the first thing we need to do is cut off the aid to Pakistan.
We don't need to pay them to kill us; they will support killing Americans on their own. Cut off the aid.
The second thing we do is to label Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism. That is what they are: a state sponsor of terrorism. Congress needs to label them and make that designation so they suffer the consequences for their terrorist mischief throughout the world.
And the third thing we do is we need to remove and revoke their major non-NATO ally status. That is a fancy word for: because Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally, they get certain benefits, militarily, that other countries don't get.
Revoke that. Quit giving them military aid. Quit giving them money. Designate them as a state sponsor of terrorism, and remove the major non-NATO ally status against Pakistan.
There needs to be consequences for this long history, that most Americans are not aware of, where Pakistan says one thing and, like the ambassador said, does something else; and those consequences need to come down to get attention. The longest war in American history continues today, and it is a war supposedly against terrorism.
But Afghanistan still is a hotbed because of what takes place and supported from Pakistan. The Afghan Government knows it, we know it, and the Pakistan Government knows it.
So there must be consequences. I think Pakistan is found guilty of supporting terrorism, and there should be action by the United States immediately to do these three things.
And that is just the way it is.