Obama assures Pakistan of trusting partnership while unveiling Afghan strategy

December 2, 2009 3:36 pm 

WEST POINT, N.Y. Dec. 2 — President Barack Obama has assured Pakistan of a U.S. partnership beyond the ongoing Afghan conflict as he sought Islamabad’s help in combating al-Qaeda threat in the region with additional 30,000 troops deployment in Afghanistan, a high-risk move, which, he said, would be followed by pullout beginning July 2011.

“In the past, we too often defined our relationship with Pakistan narrowly. Those days are over. Moving forward, we are committed to a partnership with Pakistan that is built on a foundation of mutual interests, mutual respect, and mutual trust,” he told Americans in a nationally televised speech on Tuesday night.

The US leader spoke from the packed Eisenhower Hall of West Point Military academy located in the scenic Orange county, about 60 miles north of New York.

Obama, who inherited the Afghan war started in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attacks, said an “effective partnership with Pakistan” is the core element of his policy together with “a military effort to create the conditions for a transition and a civilian surge that reinforces positive action” in Afghanistan.

He also made it clear that the United States has no desire to occupy Afghanistan and expressed support for Pakistan’s democracy, prosperity and security. He also pressed the point that the Afghan security forces have to take the responsibility for security.

The President, who earlier Tuesday, spoke with President Asif Ali Zardari by telephone on the way forward in the anti-militant campaign, said the U.S. will act with the “full recognition that our success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan.

”He acknowledged Pakistan’s recent “largest” anti-militant offensive and loss of its people in brazen terrorist attacks. The people and governments of both Afghanistan and Pakistan are endangered. And the stakes are even higher within a nuclear-armed Pakistan, because we know that al Qaeda and other extremists seek nuclear weapons, and we have every reason to believe that they would use them.” (PNA/APP)

DCT/rsm

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