US dismisses Zardari`s remark that war is lost in Afghanistan

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 - 12:20

Washington: The United States Wednesday dismissed Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari`s view that
US-backed coalition forces are losing the war in Afghanistan,
saying actions taken in the last several months were keeping
in mind the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President
Barack Obama, who had earlier said progress was being made in
Afghanistan, would not agree with Zardari`s conclusion.

"Well, I don`t think the (US) President would agree
with President Zardari`s conclusion that the war is lost. I
haven`t seen the interview. I don`t know why he`s come to that
conclusion," Gibbs told reporters.

In the interview to France-based daily newspaper `Le
Monde`, Zardari had said, "The international community, of
which Pakistan is a part, is losing the war against the
Taliban because we have lost the battle for hearts and minds."

"Military reinforcements are only a small part of the
response. To win the support of the Afghan population, you
must bring economic development and prove you can not only
change their lives, but improve them," Zardari had said.

Gibbs said that the actions and the efforts of the
coalition forces, international and the US, taken over in the
last several months "have very much the hearts and minds of
the Afghan people at the forefront."

"The Afghan people know of the brutality of Taliban,
just as the Pakistani people on the actions that their
extremist counterparts were taking in Pakistan last year, to
move on the capital of Pakistan is why the country of Pakistan
started to take more direct action against safe havens," Gibbs
said.

"So I think that the hearts and minds of those in
Afghanistan and Pakistan are obviously a key part of our
strategy, as well as the hearts and the minds of the
extremists that seek to do Afghans or Pakistanis harm," he
said.

State Department spokesman P J Crowley also dismissed
Zardari`s remarks, saying, "As our military leaders have made
clear, we have not yet won, but I don`t think that I would
characterise that we are losing."

"We are determined to work as hard as we can for as
long as it takes to succeed, not just in one part of the
world, but obviously, we are concerned that some of these
elements are linked to global networks, and this is not just a
struggle in South Asia," he said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 - 12:20

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