ISLAMABAD — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s recent visit to Pakistan seemed to soften Washington’s stand on a key point of contention between the two countries: whether Islamabad should take military action against Pakistan-based insurgents fighting American troops in Afghanistan, or try to engage them in peace talks.This shift in the U.S. stance could give Washington and Islamabad new room to cooperate on ending the Afghan war. Clinton said Islamabad must rid the country “of terrorists who kill their own people and who cross the border to kill people in Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile,The U.S. still believes that military force is still needed to push the Taliban and their allies to make concessions. Pakistan,prefers on the other hand to reduce violence to induce the insurgents to come to the table. But, Pakistan is furthermore unsure of exactly what kind of deal the U.S. and Afghan governments might strike with the insurgents, when the atmosphere is permeated by feelings of distrust on all sides.
The U.S. has long demanded that Pakistan take greater military action against Taliban militants and their allies who use Pakistani territory to regroup and to send fighters to attack forces in Afghanistan. Recently, the U.S. has pushed for an assault on the Haqqani militant network, which the U.S. alleges is supported by the Pakistan military’s spy agency, reacting to which , Pakistan has denied supporting the Haqqanis, but has also made clear that it will not conduct an offensive against the group’s safe haven in the North Waziristan tribal area, a position that has not changed despite the two-day visit by Clinton and other senior national security officials.
As the analysts believe Pakistan’s refusal is driven by its belief that the Haqqanis could be key allies in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw, especially in countering the influence of archenemy India.However,The Pakistani military, says that its failure to act against the Haqqanis is just a question of limited resources.
Pakistan doesn’t believe the U.S. plan to use military action to force militants into peace talks will work. It said,“In our culture, it may not work if you want to negotiate with the same adversary you are fighting,” said the Pakistani security official. “You have to declare a pause in fighting if you want to give peace a chance.”In the late 1990s, the founder of the Haqqani network, Jalaluddin Haqqani, refused Islamabad’s demand to hand over militants in his camps in Afghanistan who had carried out attacks inside Pakistan. Following the Sept. 11 2001 attacks, Taliban leader Mullah Omar refused Pakistan’s plea to hand over al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden.Perhaps the greatest barrier to a potential peace deal, however, is that nobody seems to have a clear idea whether the Taliban and their allies have any interest in negotiating.“We’re not sure,” said Clinton. “There may be no appetite for talking on the other side for ideological reasons or whatever other motivations.”
Zardari stresses enhanced Pak-US consultations based on mutual respect
ISLAMABAD, Oct 21 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday underscored the importance of enhanced consultations between the two countries on the basis of mutual respect, sovereignty and interests. He was talking to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is leading a high-level delegation, who called on him at Aiwan-e-Sadr here. During the one-on-one and delegation-level meetings, the two sides discussed host of issues relating to Pak-US relations, fight against militancy, regional situation with particular reference to the situation obtaining in Afghanistan.
Ms. Clinton also appreciated the economic reform initiatives taken by Pakistan which involved making difficult decisions and tough choices.
Affirming U.S. continued support for the democracy in Pakistan, she also applauded unanimous resolution adopted by All Parties Conference recently.