In the June 2011 update to the US government’s “National Strategy for Counterterrorism,” President Barack Obama states:
We will defeat al-Qa’ida only through a sustained partnership with Pakistan. The underlying conditions that allow the group to maintain its safe haven and regenerate–including its ability to capitalize on relationships with militant allies–can only be addressed through a sustained local presence opposed to al-Qa’ida. Pakistan has shown resolve in this fight in the face of increasing brutality by al-Qa’ida and its Pakistan-based allies, but greater Pakistani-U.S.strategic cooperation across a broader range of political, military, and economic pursuits will be necessary to achieve the defeat of al-Qa’ida in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, Pakistan seems to have other plans, according to The Express Tribune:
The United States’ plan to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan beyond the stipulated 2014 deadline does not seem to be sitting too well with Pakistan, as Islamabad has begun secret diplomatic manoeuvres to forge a consensus among regional states to thwart American ambitions, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Pakistan has stepped up efforts to take China, Iran, Russia and other neighbours of the war-torn country on board to “convince or force” the US to abandon the region by 2014.
Back-to-back trips by top Pakistani political and military leaders in recent months were all part of Islamabad’s diplomacy to seek support from countries bordering Afghanistan, sources revealed.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has just returned from Iran. President Asif Ali Zardari visited Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, China and Tajikistan over the past two months. Similarly, Chief of General Staff of the Pakistan Army Lt Gen Waheed Arshad was also in Beijing for a week two months ago, with officials in Islamabad saying his visit was “part of the security establishment’s manoeuvres to get China on its side”.
There was a consensus, by and large, among all regional states including China and Iran that any solution in Afghanistan should envisage a complete US drawdown from the war-hit nation, officials familiar with these developments said. “Discussions in Beijing, Moscow, Tehran and Islamabad right now are focusing on how these regional players should take a lead role in the transition in Afghanistan,” a foreign ministry official said.
Iran is ready to accept a Taliban comeback into the Kabul administration, but wants to restrict their presence to the southeast of the country. China too considered them a “lesser evil” compared to US presence in their “backyard”, diplomatic authorities revealed.
According to diplomatic authorities, Iran is ready to accept a Taliban comeback into the Kabul administration, but wants to restrict their presence to the southeast of the country, while China also considered them a “lesser evil” compared to US presence in their “backyard”, the paper said.
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