Washington: US President Barack Obama on Thursday
voiced concern over Pakistan`s military and intelligence links
with extremists, observing the US finds this "troubling."
Obama also said that Pakistan should realize that a
peaceful approach towards India would be in "everybody`s
Without naming the Haqqani network with whom Pakistan`s
spy agency ISI is suspected to be having links, Obama
described the extremists as "unsavoury characters".
"And there is no doubt that there`s some connections the
Pakistani military and intelligence services have with certain
individuals that we find troubling," he told a White House
Obama said Pakistan saw its "security interest
threatened by an independent Afghanistan, in part because they
think it will ally itself to India and Pakistan still
considers India their mortal enemy."
"Part of what we want to do is actually get Pakistan
to realize that a peaceful.
About the connections that the Pakistani military and
intelligence services have with "certain individuals", Obama
said he had mentioned this publicly and said it privately to
Pakistani officials as well."
"I think they have hedged their bets in terms of what
Afghanistan would look like and part of hedging their bets is
having interactions with some of the unsavory characters who
they think might end up regaining power in Afghanistan after
coalition forces have left," he said.
Obama remained non-committal on the question of
consequences that Pakistan might face with regard to ISI
having links with Haqqani network.
"We will constantly evaluate our relationship with
Pakistan based on is overall this helping to protect Americans
and our interests," he said.
The President said the US has tried to persuade
Islamabad that it is in their interest to have a stable
"What we`ve tried to persuade Pakistan of is that it is
in their interest to have a stable Afghanistan, that they
should not be feeling threatened by a stable, independent
Afghanistan," he added.
Obama`s remarks on Pakistan`s links with extremists
came in response to a question about the recent statement by
Admiral Mike Mullen as the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, in
which he said the Haqqani network is a veritable arm of the
Elaborating on his remarks that it was in Pakistan`s
interest to have a stable Afghanistan, Obama said," We`ve
tried to get conversations between Afghans and Pakistanis
going more effectively than they have been in the past."
He highlighted some of the pressing problems that
Pakistan is facing such as poverty, illiteracy, a lack of
development and weak civil institutions.
"...one of the biggest problems we have in Pakistan
right now is poverty, illiteracy, a lack of development, you
know, civil institutions that aren`t strong enough to deliver
for the Pakistani people," he said.
"And in that environment you`ve seen extremism grow,
you`ve seen militancy grow, that doesn`t just threaten our
efforts in Afghanistan but also threatens the Pakistani
government and the Pakistan people, as well. So trying to get
that reorientation is something that we`re continuing to work
on. It`s not easy," he added.
"We have a great desire to help the Pakistani people
strengthen their own society and their own government. And so,
you know, I`d be hesitate to punish, you know, aid for flood
victims in Pakistan because of poor decisions by their
intelligence services," Obama said.
"But there`s no doubt that, you know, we`re not going
to feel comfortable with a long-term strategic relationship
with Pakistan if we don`t think that they`re mindful of our
interests as well," he said.
The US president said the his number one goal is to
make sure that terror outfit Al Qaida cannot attack the US
homeland and cannot affect US interests around the world.
"We have done an outstanding job, I think, in going
after, directly, Al Qaida in this border region between
Pakistan and Afghanistan.
We could not have been as successful as we have been
without the cooperation of the Pakistan government. And so on
a whole range of issues they have been an effective partner
with us," he said.
Obama further said, "What is also true is that our
goal of being able to transition out of Afghanistan and leave
a stable government behind, one that is independent, one that
is respectful of human rights, one that is democratic.
Pakistan, I think, has been more ambivalent about some of our