Secretary Clinton's Message to Pakistan: Help us Negotiate with Taliban and Haqqani Group
By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Bloomberg, Oct 24, 2011
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Pakistan will suffer “dire consequences” if it fails to“contain” terrorists operating from its soil, and it needs the U.S. and Afghanistan to help get the job done.
The Obama administration isn’t asking Pakistan’s military to occupy its rugged border regions, the base for extremist groups that attack U.S., allied and Afghan forces on the other side, Clinton said in an interview with Bloomberg News following two days of meetings in Islamabad.
There are “different ways of fighting besides overt military action,” she said.
Clinton said she pressed Pakistan to fully share intelligence with U.S. forces in Afghanistan to prevent attacks and choke off money and supply routes. Better coordination might prevent incidents like the Sept. 20 assault on the American Embassy in Kabul, which the U.S. blames on the Haqqani network, she said.
"We can go after funding. We can go after couriers,’’ she said she told Pakistani leaders.
Already strained ties with Pakistan were exacerbated by the U.S. commando assault in May that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden near Islamabad. Clinton, along with CIA Director David Petraeus and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the Army Chief of Staff, and Ahmad Shuja Pasha, head of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate.
Clinton praised recent cooperation against al-Qaeda as a model for how to crack down on the Haqqanis as well as the Taliban, based in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta.
“Because of intelligence sharing and mutual cooperation, we have targeted three of the top al-Qaeda operatives since bin Laden’s death. That could not have happened without Pakistani cooperation,” she said.
Pakistan’s political parties came together last month behind a resolution to seek talks and a cease-fire with insurgents rather than an all-out military assault. Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani urged the Americans “to give peace a chance” before pressing his military for more, he said in a statement.
Clinton said the U.S. message to Pakistan was that the same insurgents who have launched lethal attacks against U.S. and Afghan targets may unleash their violence inside Pakistan.
Clinton said she urged Pakistan’s leaders to take advantage of the roughly 130,000-troop, U.S.-led NATO force next door inAfghanistan while it’s still there. The U.S. and NATO have begun pulling out troops and plan to hand full security control to Afghanistan’s government by the end of 2014.
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Related: From Pakistan Press
Pakistan tells U.S. ready to arrange Taliban talks: report - The News
U-turn?: Convince Taliban to talk, US asks Pakistan - Express Tribune
EDITORIAL: Beginning of a charm offensive - Daily Times
US, Pakistan ‘agree on work plan’ - Dawn