Political crisis won’t affect war on terror, hopes US
WASHINGTON, June 21: The United States hopes that the current political transition in Pakistan will not affect the country’s efforts to fight terrorists, says the State Department.
“They’ve now announced plans of their own for their own political transition, so our hope and expectation is that we can continue to try to work through these issues,” the department’s spokesperson Victoria Nuland said at a briefing in Washington.
She noted that the US administration continued to work with the Pakistani government throughout this period.
Earlier, a journalist suggested that terrorists hiding in Fata had been going in and out of Afghanistan as they pleased and the current political turmoil in Pakistan could make it easier for them to operate as the Pakistanis would be focusing on developments inside their country.
Ms Nuland pointed out that cross-border militancy had been there for more than a decade and the US had always emphasised the need to work with Pakistan to deal with this problem.
“And that’s why it’s important to have action against terror on the Pakistan side, on the Afghan side, and for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Isaf to continue to work together,” she said. The US official disagreed with another suggestion that the US plan to withdraw its combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014 was encouragingmilitants to continue their insurgency.
“The goal, the expectation is that Isaf forces will begin to flow home as Afghan forces take on lead responsibility for security, that we will continue to equip and train them and to support them in paying salaries and all those kinds of things,” she said.
“But the transition is based on an expectation that Afghans will be able to secure themselves using Afghan National Security Forces. So that’s what we are working towards, not a diminution of any kind in capacity, but just the ability of Afghans to manage their security themselves.”—Anwar Iqbal