Rand Paul trying to block sale of F-16s to Pakistan

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says Pakistan has been an “uncertain ally” of the United States.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says Pakistan has been an “uncertain ally” of the United States. AP

The sale of eight Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan is drawing opposition in the U.S. Senate, led by Sen. Rand Paul.

Bloomberg News reports that the one-time Republican presidential contender introduced a joint resolution of disapproval on Feb. 25 and says the Senate may vote this week or next to block the sale.

On his website, Paul advocates halting the sale of U.S. arms to Pakistan, saying that “We should not be selling U.S. military technology to a country whose intelligence and military apparatuses are actively assisting the Afghan Taliban.”

Last month, the U.S. government approved the sale of the fighter jets, along with radar and electronic warfare equipment, in a deal worth $700 million.

The sale offers a chance to extend production of the F-16 at Lockheed’s west Fort Worth manufacturing complex, which is now focused on producing the newer F-35 stealth fighter.

Over 40 years, Lockheed has delivered more than 4,500 F-16 jets to customers in more than 24 countries. But the program has been winding down for several years, and currently is building just one plane a month for Iraq.

According to Politico, Paul is using the obscure Arms Export Control Act of 1976 to try and stop the sale. “Over the last few years we have seen that Pakistan is an uncertain ally when it comes to cooperating with the United States,” Paul is quoted as saying in a statement.