Clinton Discusses Way Forward in Afghanistan, Pakistan

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2011 — The Unit­ed States has made tremen­dous progress in Afghanistan, but the work that remains to be done requires coop­er­a­tion from both Afghanistan and Pak­istan, Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton told the House For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee today.

Osama bin Laden and many top al-Qai­da ter­ror­ists are dead, Clin­ton said. The ter­ror group has been dev­as­tat­ed, she added, and its abil­i­ty to con­duct oper­a­tions is great­ly diminished. 

“Many of our suc­cess­es against al-Qai­da would not have been pos­si­ble with­out our pres­ence in Afghanistan and close coop­er­a­tion with Pak­istan,” she said. 

Clin­ton just returned from vis­its to Afghanistan and Pak­istan. Army Gen. Mar­tin E. Dempsey, chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and CIA Direc­tor David H. Petraeus accom­pa­nied her. 

The coali­tion in Afghanistan still faces a dif­fi­cult fight, the sec­re­tary said, but the surge in coali­tion troops and the plus-up in Afghan secu­ri­ty forces has wrest­ed momen­tum away from the Taliban. 

Afghan forces are assum­ing more respon­si­bil­i­ty each day, Clin­ton said, not­ing that Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai soon will announce the next group of areas in the coun­try where Afghan forces will assume secu­ri­ty responsibility. 

The Afghans undoubt­ed­ly have made progress, Clin­ton said. 

“Ten years ago, few­er than a mil­lion stu­dents enrolled in Afghan schools — all of them boys,” she said. “Now, more than 7 mil­lion [attend school]. Near­ly 40 per­cent of them are girls. Afghans are bet­ter posi­tioned to chart their own future.” 

The Unit­ed States can­not let up in the region, Clin­ton said. “We should build on our momen­tum, not under­cut our progress,” she told the House panel. 

Work­ing with Afghan and Pak­istani part­ners is not always easy, Clin­ton acknowl­edged. “But these rela­tion­ships are advanc­ing America’s nation­al secu­ri­ty inter­ests,” she added, “and walk­ing away from them would under­mine those interests.” 

Dur­ing her talks with Afghan and Pak­istani lead­ers, Clin­ton said, she empha­sized America’s three-track strat­e­gy of “fight, talk and build.” 

“The chance of suc­cess for all three [is] great­ly increased by strong coop­er­a­tion from the Afghan and Pak­istani gov­ern­ments,” she said. 

Coali­tion and Afghan forces have increased pres­sure on the Tal­iban, the Haqqani net­work and oth­er insur­gents, Clin­ton said. 

“But our com­man­ders on the ground are increas­ing­ly con­cerned … that we have to go after the safe havens across the bor­der in Pak­istan,” she said. “So in Islam­abad last week, Gen­er­al Dempsey, Direc­tor Petraeus and I deliv­ered a sin­gle, uni­fied mes­sage: Pakistan’s civil­ian and mil­i­tary lead­er­ship must join us in squeez­ing the Haqqani net­work from both sides of the bor­der and in clos­ing safe havens.” 

The three under­scored to the Pak­ista­nis how urgent this is, and “we had detailed and frank con­ver­sa­tions about the con­crete steps both sides need to take,” Clin­ton said. 

In the sec­ond track, the Unit­ed States is encour­ag­ing an Afghan-led peace process, Clin­ton said. She reit­er­at­ed that insur­gents must renounce vio­lence, aban­don al-Qai­da and abide by the laws and con­sti­tu­tion of Afghanistan to be accept­ed back into Afghan society. 

“If insur­gents can­not or will not meet those red­lines, they will face con­tin­ued and unre­lent­ing assault,” she said. “And I want to stress, as I did in Kab­ul, that the hard-won rights of women and all Afghans can­not be rolled back, and the growth of civ­il soci­ety must be not be quashed.” 

Pak­istan has a big stake in rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in Afghanistan, Clin­ton said, and the Unit­ed States expects Pak­istan to encour­age the Tal­iban and oth­er insur­gents to par­tic­i­pate in an Afghan peace process in good faith through unequiv­o­cal pub­lic state­ments and by clos­ing off the safe havens. 

The third track, Clin­ton said, is build­ing capac­i­ty and oppor­tu­ni­ty in Afghanistan, Pak­istan and across the region. 

“Now, this is part of a clear-eyed strat­e­gy root­ed in a les­son we have learned over and over again around the world — last­ing sta­bil­i­ty and secu­ri­ty go hand in hand with greater eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty,” she said. 

The eco­nom­ic aspects of this track, Clin­ton said, are cru­cial for con­tin­ued progress in secu­ri­ty and reconciliation. 

“Now, as the tran­si­tion pro­ceeds and coali­tion com­bat forces leave Afghanistan, there need to be real­is­tic hopes for devel­op­ment,” she said. “We are work­ing to achieve greater agri­cul­tur­al pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, greater exploita­tion in a way that ben­e­fits the Afghanistan peo­ple of nat­ur­al resources, increas­ing exports and strength­en­ing the finan­cial sector.” 

Amer­i­ca wants to move from “aid to trade,” the sec­re­tary of state said. There­fore, she added, U.S. law­mak­ers are being asked to pass leg­is­la­tion that will low­er tar­iffs on Pak­istani and Afghan prod­ucts, and the Enter­prise Fund, which will not require tax­pay­er dollars. 

Clin­ton dis­cussed the region­al efforts called the New Silk Road. 

“It’s not just an eco­nom­ic plan,” she said. “It talks about how we can get these coun­tries that have so many prob­lems with each oth­er to begin cooperating.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →