Friday, March 11, 2011

Hillary warns US against abandoning Pakistan

Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned America against walking away from Pakistan, reminding that the consequences of abandoning the country had always been disastrous. 

After talking about Afghanistan, Hillary told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: “Equally important is our assistance to Pakistan.” 

“We are trying to deepen our relationship. There are many challenges confronting us, but we know what happens when we walk away from Pakistan. We did it before, and the results, unfortunately, were quite dire for us,” she added. 

Referring to a 16 percent cut imposed by the House of Representatives on US foreign assistance last month, Hillary told the congressional panel: “It will be very difficult for us as we are now planning our civilian efforts in an ongoing way in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to absorb a 16 percent cut that passed the House last month.” 

“We’ve got to do our part with the military. And I know that what is often the case is we talk about non-defence discretionary,” she added. 

The US State Department is seeking USD 8.7 billion next fiscal year to fund its vital civilian missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. 

“We do have al Qaeda under pressure as never before. The military surge and our civilian surge – because when I became Secretary of State, we had 300 civilians in Afghanistan, and most of them were on six-month rotations. We were not doing our part to be a good partner to our military colleagues,” said Hillary. 

“We now have nearly 1,200 civilians, and they are there day in and day out, and they are in some of the roughest terrain you can find anywhere. Our military commanders literally tell me every week that we cannot succeed without a strong civilian partner for our military efforts,” she added. 

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