Washington(IANS): In a blunt warning to Pakistan against supporting anti-India and anti-Afghanistan terror groups, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has asked Islamabad to do more about terrorist safe havens in its territory.
“What we’ve said to the Pakistanis is look, if there were ever an argument in the past for your policy of hedging against Afghanistan by supporting the Haqqani Network or the Afghan Taliban or the LET (Lashkar-e-Taiba) against India, those days are over,” she said on a TV talk show.
“Because that’s like the guy who keeps poisonous snakes in his backyard convinced they’ll only attack his neighbours,” Clinton said appearing on the Charlie Rose show with former secretary of State James Baker for “Conversations on Diplomacy”.
Noting that US “relationship with Pakistan has been challenging for a long time” she lamented that in the aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistanis “had embraced a kind of jihadi mentality in part to stimulate fighters both from the outside and within Afghanistan.”
“So we are living with a country that has a lot of difficult issues both for themselves and then for us and others.”
While it was not in US interests to cut off its relationship with Pakistan, Clinton said: “It is in our interest to try to better direct and manage that relationship, and there are several things that we’re asking the Pakistanis to do more of and better.”
“Number one, they’ve got to do more about the safe havens inside their own country, she said.
“I mean, everybody knows that the Taliban’s momentum has been reversed, territory has been taken back, the Afghan Security Forces are performing much better, but the extremists have an ace in the hole,” Clinton said.
Pakistan “has to be willing to recognize that as we withdraw from Afghanistan, it is in their interest to have a strong, stable Afghan Government,” she said.
“That only can come from being part of the solution, being at that table . to try to help with Afghanistan’s economic and political and security development, rather than doing everything possible to try to undermine it.”