WASHINGTON: A US State Department spokesman said on Friday that F-16 fighter aircraft were the right platform to support Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts and the US security assistance contributes to a stable region.
At a weekly briefing, Mark Toner, responding to a question, said Pakistan was trying to make efforts to fight against the terror groups that threatened all Pakistanis. “We do believe that F-16s are helpful.”
The spokesman said they believed there had been some ups and downs but that Pakistan was moving towards greater dialogue to resolve differences. “We want to see that continue.”
Toner said “in all types of these arms transfers we do take into account regional security and a range of other factors. We believe our security assistance does contribute to a more stable and secure Pakistan and region.”
Responding to a question, the spokesman said he was aware that some members of Congress had expressed their concerns about how to finance the sale but referred the questioner to the White House.
Meanwhile, a spokesman of the Pakistani embassy in the United States, while responding to a media report, said the US administration had stated that it supported the sale of F-16s to Pakistan.
“This is in line with bilateral counterterrorism cooperation that both sides have pursued in mutual benefit.
“F-16s provide precision strike capability to Pakistan’s ongoing campaign against militancy and have proven to be an affective platform during Operation Zarb-e-Azb,” the spokesman said.
He said Pakistan believed that the threat from terrorist networks required continued capacity building and both the Pakistan and the US governments continued to work together towards the objective through a range of measures including sale of these aircrafts.
“The arms sale is a long process and we do not comment on its specific status at a point in time,” he added.