What Will It Take to Get the Pakistanis to Go After al-Qaeda’s ‘Extremist Syndicate’? « The Washington Independent
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) asked Gen. David Petraeus what it will take to get the Pakistani military to go after the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network and the al-Qaeda strongholds: “How can we convince them we have a long-term commitment to the region?”
Petraeus replied that it takes time to shift a country’s perception of its threat, but it’s already underway in Pakistan. The “developments of the last ten months really are significant,” Petraeus said, as all important sectors of Pakistani society have both recognized the threat from the Pakistani Taliban and “taken action in response to that recognition … they have cleared, they have held onto it and are looking to the rebuilding piece.” But going further, “I think, frankly, the effort to demonstrate a sustained, substantial commitment to Pakistan,” including new U.S. funding, helps. “This is a process of building trust, building mutual confidence and building a relationship,” Petraeus said, and it wouldn’t hurt to “recognize the sacrifice” the Pakistanis have made over the past few months.
Deputy Secretary Jack Lew added that “are we there for the long-term relationship” is still “critical” for the Pakistanis, and hinted that it may require a “balance” of U.S. aid to the military of more than just counterinsurgency aid. (What will India think?) “There is the capacity to work with local leaders” on development projects that benefit Pakistanis for much beyond the immediate security threat or the obvious U.S. self-interest.