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'Pak is obsessed with India than combating terror'

By Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC
April 17, 2009 11:40 IST
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Afghanistan's Ambassador to the United States Said Jawad has said that there can be no peace in the region 'without the sincere cooperation of Pakistan'.

Jawad, who was appearing with his Pakistani counterpart Husain Haqqani at a forum organized by The Atlantic Council to explore challenges of the new Obama strategy toward Kabul and Islamabad, said that while there had developed a rapport between the democratically elected Afghan and Pakistani civilian governments trust between the security services of both nations was seemingly still elusive.

It was imperative if the war against extremism and terrorism that threatens to tear apart both countries and could have dire consequences to the region is to be combated, he said, adding that while Afghanistan does not question Pakistani civilian government's commitment to combat terrorism, the military still seemed to be obsessed with India instead of the existential threat that threatens the very fabric of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"We will not succeed in this war, we will not have peace in Afghanistan, stability in the region, and security in the world, without the sincere cooperation of Pakistan," he said.

Jawad acknowledged, "Fortunately, we have actually two elected leaders, civilian governments, in both countries that are working very closely with each other. The degree of the mutual trust and engagement between the two leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan is unprecedented in the history of Afghanistan."

"We never had such close relations in the top level between civilian leaders," he added.

But, Jawad said, "That degree of engagement and trust between the civilian leaders must be matched with deliveries by the Pakistani security institutions. That gap could be bridged with the support of all our friends in the international community, who are also out main stakeholders to what is happening and taking shape in this part of the world."

The Afghan diplomat took exception to Haqqani contention that Pakistan now fully understood that "terrorism poses a greater imminent threat to our survival than some of our traditional concerns," meaning India.

But Jawad argued that while he doesn't doubt the commitment of the Zardari government to combat terrorism, obviously the military is still fixated on India, saying that "the military in Pakistan has capabilities to deliver but perceives India as the main enemy, not extremism."

And while Haqqani had shown Pakistan's anger over the benchmarks proposed by the Obama Administration and the US Congress over the proposed economic and security aid package to his country to the tune of $7.5 billion, Jawad said Afghanistan had no such problems.
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Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC