Washington: US Central Command Chief General David Petraeus has said that Washington should provide consistent assistance to Pakistan’s war on terror, and not abandoned the country as it was done twice in the past.
“Our task - which US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has reaffirmed during his visit to Pakistan - has to be to show that we are going to be a steadfast partner that we are not going to abandon the country as we have done twice before. We must provide a substantial amount of assistance,” the Daily Times quoted General Petraeus, as saying.
His remarks referred to American estrangement with Pakistan following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, a decade after the US-led Western allies backed Afghan mujahideen in their fight against Soviet occupation.
Petraeus noted that Pakistanis have begun to recognise the Taliban as a threat to the country.
“So this became Pakistan’s war on terror, not Pakistanis fighting America’s war on terror. That is an enormous shift in thinking,” he said.
On its part, the US is going to demonstrate its commitment to a sustained partnership with Pakistan, General Petraeus said.
“So again, we have got to show that we are in this together, that we are going to provide sustained, substantial commitment. And I think the Kerry-Lugar Bill does that by providing USD 1.5 billion annually for 5 years in terms of economic assistance. They see this as their fight now, and that is heartening,” he said.
First Published: Monday, January 25, 2010, 14:36