Washington: Islamabad used to support terror outfits as a hedge against India and an unfriendly Afghan regime, so that the two neighbours of Pakistan do not undermine it, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
“They (Pakistan) have in the past hedged against both India and an unfriendly regime in Afghanistan by supporting groups that will be their proxies in trying to prevent either India or an unfriendly Afghan Government from undermining their position,” she said.
Clinton said now things are “changing”, but she cannot confirm whether Pakistan has stopped the use of terror against India and Afghanistan.
“That is changing… Now, I cannot sit here and tell you that it has changed, but that is changing,” she told ABC News in an interview, the transcripts of which was released by the State Department.
Clinton accepted that US had created certain radical outfits and supported terrorists like Osama bin Laden to fight against the erstwhile Soviet Union, but that backing has boomeranged.
“Part of what we are fighting against right now, the United States created. We created the Mujahidin force against the Soviet Union (in Afghanistan). We trained them, we equipped them, we funded them, including somebody named Osama bin Laden.
“And it didn’t work out so well for us,” she said.
The Secretary of the State also said Pakistan is paying a “big price” for supporting US war against terror groups in their own national interest.
“But I think it is important to note that as they have made these adjustments in their own assessment of their national interests, they’re paying a big price for it,” Clinton said.
“And it’s not an easy calculation for them to make. But we are making progress (in Afghanistan). We have a long way to go and we can’t be impatient…Well, the headlines are bad. We’re going home. We cannot do that,” she said.
Appearing on the same ABC show, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates said Pakistan has withdrawn an equivalent of about six divisions of its army from the Indian border and moved them.
“And they are attacking the Taliban. They’re attacking the Taliban – Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and safe havens that are a problem for us,” Gates said.
“But the other piece of this, we face in both countries what they call a trust deficit, and it is because they believe we have walked away from them in the past at the toughest moments of their history.
“You can’t recreate that (trust) in a heartbeat. You can’t recreate that in a year or two. They both worry that once we solve the problem in Afghanistan, or if we don’t solve it, that either way, we will leave and leave whatever remains in their hands to deal with,” he added.