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Pakistan 'stalwart ally' against Al-Qaeda: Obama

SAMAA | - Posted: Feb 10, 2009 | Last Updated: 11 years ago
Posted: Feb 10, 2009 | Last Updated: 11 years ago
Pakistan 'stalwart ally' against Al-Qaeda: Obama

WASHINGTON: Recognizing the democratic Pakistani government's resolve to curb Al-Qaeda militancy along its Afghan
border, President Barack Obama on Monday talking to media persons,
pledged to have Pakistan as a 'stalwart ally' of the United States
against the terrorist threat.
He also vowed to proceed with a combination of U.S. security,
development and diplomatic efforts and forge a “more effective”
coordination with allies as part of a broader approach to foil Al
-Qaeda in the region and stem deterioration in Afghanistan.
“I believe that the new government of Pakistan and — and
(President) Mr. (Asif Ali) Zardari cares deeply about getting
control of this situation, and we want to be effective partners
with them on that issue.”
Asked about Islamabad's response to his administration's desire
to have stronger partnership, Obama cited the Special U.S.
Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke's
current visit to the key country and its South Asian neighbors India
and Afghanistan.
“Mr. Holbrooke is there, and that's exactly why he's being sent
there, because I think that we have to make sure that Pakistan is a
stalwart ally with us in battling this terrorist threat.”
Obama, who described insurgency-hit Afghanistan as a “big
challenge” at the same time noted that “there is no doubt that in
the FATA region of Pakistan, in the mountainous regions along the
border of Afghanistan, that there are safe havens where terrorists are operating.”
“And one of the goals of Ambassador Holbrooke as he is traveling throughout the region is to deliver a message to Pakistan that they are endangered as much as we are by the continuation of those operations,
and that we've got to work in a regional fashion to root out those safe
“They're ­ it's not acceptable for Pakistan or for us to have
folks who, with impunity, will kill innocent men, women and children,”
he added.
On Afghanistan's travails, he noted that contrastingly with Iraq,
the political system in Afghanistan is not working and criticized the central government in Kabul for being aloof to what is happening
outside the capital.
“They've got elections coming up, but effectively the national government seems very detached from what's going on in the surrounding community.”
“In addition, you've got the Taliban and al Qaeda operating in
the FATA and these border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. And
what we haven't seen is the kind of concerted effort to root out those
safe havens that would ultimately make our mission successful.”
Therefore, Obama said, his administration is undergoing a “thorough-going review.”
“Not only is General Petraeus, now the head of CENTCOM, conducting
his own review, he's now working in concert with the special envoy that
I've sent over — Richard Holbrooke, one of our top diplomats, to
evaluate a regional approach. We are going to need more effective coordination of our military efforts with diplomatic efforts with development efforts with more effective coordination with our allies in order for us to be successful.”
“My bottom line is that we cannot allow al Qaeda to operate. We
cannot have those safe havens in that region. And we're going to have to work both smartly and effectively, but with consistency, in order to
make sure that those safe havens don't exist.”
“I do not have yet a timetable for how long that's going to take.
What I know is I'm not going to make ­ I'm not going to allow Al-Qaeda
or (Osama) bin Laden to operate with impunity planning attacks on the
U.S. homeland.” -APP

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