Washington: US President Barack Obama
on Wednesday said that Pakistan has realised that it is not India but
the "cancer" of terrorism emanating from its own territory
that is its primary concern as extremists pose a serious
threat to the sovereignty of that country.
"I think there has been in the past a view on the part
of Pakistan that their primary rival, India, was their only
concern," Obama said at a joint press availability with the
visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
"I think what you`ve seen over the last several
months is a growing recognition that they have a cancer in
their midst; that the extremist organisations that have been
allowed to congregate and use as a base the frontier areas to
then go into Afghanistan -- that now threatens Pakistan`s
sovereignty," Obama said in response to a question.
Our goal is to break down some of the old suspicions
and the old bad habits and continue to work with the Pakistani
government to see their interest in a stable Afghanistan which
is free from foreign meddling, he said.
Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States, the
international community should all be working to reduce the
influence of extremists in those regions, Obama added.
Obama said "I am actually encouraged by what I`ve
seen from the Pakistani government over the last several
But just as it`s going to take some time for
Afghanistan`s economy, for example, to fully recover from 30
years of war, it`s going to take some time for Pakistan, even
where there is a will, to find a way in order to effectively
deal with these extremists in areas that are fairly loosely
governed from Islamabad."
Obama praised the recent steps taken by Pakistan
against extremist elements inside the country.
"You know, part of what I`ve been encouraged by is
Pakistan`s willingness to start asserting more control over
some of these areas, but it`s not going to happen overnight.
And, you know, they have been taking enormous
casualties, the Pakistani military has been going in fairly
aggressively, but this will be an ongoing project," he said.
Referring to the 45-minute meeting he had at the
Oval office with Karzai Obama said the two leaders discussed
the fact that the only way ultimately that Pakistan is secure
is if Afghanistan is secure.
"The only way that Afghanistan is secure is if the
sovereignty, the territorial integrity, the Afghan
constitution, the Afghan people are respected by their
neighbours," he said.
"We think that that message is starting to get
through, but it`s one that we have to continue to promote,"