Pak is 1st challenge for Afghan tansition: Fmr US envoy
Pakistan`s unwillingness to deal with Afghan insurgents` sanctuaries on its soil makes the country the first "challenge" in achieving the military transition in Afghanistan by 2014, former top American diplomat to Kabul said.
Singapore: Pakistan`s unwillingness to deal with Afghan insurgents` sanctuaries on its soil makes the country the first "challenge" in achieving the military transition in Afghanistan by 2014, former top American diplomat to Kabul on Monday said.
Achieving the transition agreed by the US and Afghanistan on reducing its armed forces would be challenging, former US Ambassador to Kabul, Lt Gen (retd) Karl Eikenberry said.
He listed Pakistan as the first challenge in the process.
"Its apparent unwillingness and perhaps, in some instances, inability, to deal with the sanctuaries Afghan insurgents enjoy in Pakistan.
"In the absence of Pakistani cooperation, US, Coalition and Afghan costs in terms of casualties and treasures will increase," he said in a lecture on "The Future of Afghanistan and US Strategy in Central and South Asia".
Eikenberry also highlighted concern about the risk of managing a large size Afghan National Security Forces, the uncertain consequences of the global economic downturn on the fragile Afghan economy and challenges for political institutions, corruptions, and the looming presidential election in 2014.
On the positive side, Afghanistan has built up its education, health, armed forces and governing institutions, said Eikenberry, maintaining hopes for Afghanistan future.
Also, the US and NATO missions, though downsize, would include counter-terrorist forces, he added.
"The US will stay extremely committed to fighting international terrorism, providing security assistance to Afghanistan, and furthering its Strategic Partnership with India," said Eikenberry who is currently Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Standford University.
He also noted close cooperation sought by President Hamid Karzai with India in various areas for post-2014 Afghanistan, and added that neighbouring countries including China and Russia were supportive of peaceful Afghanistan.
Islamabad would also want to see a peaceful transition in Afghanistan, he added.