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Afghan success linked to Pak’s willingness to act: US

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 09:46

Washington: The US` success in Afghanistan is directly linked to Pakistan`s willingness to co-operate and act against al Qaeda, Taliban and other extremist organisation, as AfPak region remains the epicentre of violent extremism, a top Obama administration official has said.
"It was beyond question that the speed with which we were able to achieve our goals in Afghanistan has a link to the willingness of Pakistan to take on the fact that safe havens exist in the border region," said General (Rtd) James Jones, National Security Advisor.

"We are going to be working with, and have been working with the Pakistani authorities to make sure that we do everything we can to not only convince them of the urgency of the moment, not just for Afghanistan, but for Pakistan and the region itself," Jones said in response to a question at the Centre for American Progress, a Washington-based think-tank.

Jones said Obama administration was entering into a new strategic partnership with Pakistan to signal them that US was not just interested in a short-term relationship, where they solve the problem and leave but a long-term relationship would be beneficial for the future of Pakistan as a democracy in areas far beyond security.

"We have to establish a good security in the region, and then turn to economic development and other ways in which we can help Pakistan and Afghanistan become the nations we hope that they will become - as stable partners, economically secure, and working towards a brighter future for all of their, for their citizens," Jones said, adding the work was in progress.

"The US was working diligently to achieve that goal. We had a number of high-level engagements with the Pakistani authorities going back several months now, and these would continue in the months ahead," he said, adding one of the most important thing, in order to be successful there, was making them understand how genuine the US was viewing this as a long-term commitment.

Pakistan, he said, has shown a new resolve in this fight, launching major offences against extremist sanctuaries.

"In partnership, we are confronting al Qaeda directly, inflicting significant losses on Taliban and al Qaeda leadership, making it clear that we will tolerate no safe haven," he asserted.

Instead of relying heavily on a single leader, the US was now investing more broadly in the Pakistani people, which include a major commitment of USD 1.5 billion a year for five years to strengthen development and democracy in that country.

"Investing in energy and water and health, supporting reforms that create jobs and economic growth, all of which undermine the appeal for extremism," Jones said. "So that`s the strategy that we`re pursuing in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both are critical. Our success in Pakistan will directly affect the speed with which we achieve our objectives in Afghanistan: A military effort to deny safe havens and accelerate the transition to Afghan forces.”

"The civilian effort to foster good governance in improved Afghan lives; better rule of law; and a partnership with Pakistan that both targets extremists and addresses the underlying conditions that fuel extremism," Jones said.

"In other words, we are attempting to make it clear that we will neither maintain a permanent military force in Afghanistan, nor abandon the region to extremism. We are making it clear that the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan have a reliable, long-term partner in the US," he said.

"But, as the President has also made clear at West Point, and I quote, `The struggle against violent extremism will not be finished quickly, and it extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan.` It will involve disorderly regions, failed state, and diffuse enemies," Jones said.


First Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 09:46

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