WASHINGTON: Influential U.S. senator John Kerry has said strengthening Pakistani democratic government must be a key part of the regional approach to curb militancy in the region and that Afghanistan should not be allowed to destabilize Pakistan.
“The United States is not in Afghanistan to make it our 51st state, but to make sure it does not become an al-Qaeda narco-state and terrorist beachhead capable of destabilizing neighboring Pakistan,” he emphasized in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.
The seasoned lawmaker, who heads the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, argued that Washington's strategy must also reflect the interconnectedness of the region. “This requires redoubled efforts to strengthen Pakistan's civilian government and support its efforts against militants in the lawless border areas and the factions that would sabotage its relations with India.”
In the piece entitled “A Race Against Time in Afghanistan,” the Massachusetts Senator said the United States “must renew our original mission, and President Obama has rightly pledged to recommit to Afghanistan as the center of our global counterinsurgency campaign, beginning with the deployment of as many as 30,000 additional troops.”
He believed that troops are needed but stressed that troops alone will not bring long-term victory against the Taliban insurgents. “Our military commitment must be matched with realistic goals, beginning with a comprehensive new bottom-up strategy acknowledging Afghanistan's history of decentralized governance and recognizing the capabilities of our NATO and Afghan allies.”
Kerry asked NATO allies to shoulder a greater share of burden in the fight against Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the insurgency-wracked country and also pinpointed the need for resolving a host of problems in Afghanistan including corruption, poppy cultivation and lack of governance. -APP