Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has accused Pakistan of trying to have a say in Afghan affairs, and stated that the United States was building up Afghanistan’s capacity to defend itself against regional and other players pushing to gain influence in the country.
In her testimony to a Congressional panel, Hillary also said that Pakistan has “invested in a certain amount of instability in Afghanistan” in the past.
“It (Pakistan) also does not want Afghanistan to become a satellite of India, you know. India and Afghanistan have a historical affinity. And historically, Afghanistan has supported elements within Afghanistan, which Pakistan has seen as inimical to its own interests,” she said.
“So if Pakistan could be assured that what would be left would be favourable to and even, in their view, subservient to Pakistani interests, that would be fine with them. The Indians aren’t going to sit around and accept that. The Uzbeks and the Tajiks are not going to sit around and just accept that,” she added.
Hillary went on to say that part of what the US was doing was to try to build up capacity within Afghanistan, so that it is strong enough to “defend itself against all comers, but without falling back into civil war, because particularly the Northern Alliance constituents believe that they are threatened by Pakistan and the Pashtuns.”
“So when I say, yeah, they (Pakistanis) would be happy if we left as long as it ended up the way they want it, I think that’s just an obvious statement. But it won’t end up that way in the absence of some kind of political resolution, and without the strength of ability within the Afghan government to defend itself going forward,” The Nation quoted her, as saying.
Hillary admitted this was an “incredibly complex” scenario, and stressed on the need of stability in Afghanistan.
“I think they are all part of what is an incredibly complex situation that we’re trying to get our arms around and attempting to move in a direction that will leave a stable Afghanistan, not a perfect, you know, nation State, but a stable Afghanistan with the interests to be able to defend itself against both overt and covert challenges to its security,” she told the panel.