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Biden On Afghanistan, Pakistan


President Barack Obama has ordered a strategic review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That review will include input from U.S. allies in order to lay out goals that are clear and achievable.

Speaking to NATO allies at the Munich Security Conference, Vice President Joe Biden said, "As we undertake this review, there's a lot at stake":

"The result must be a comprehensive strategy for which we all take responsibility that will bring together civilian and military resources, that prevents terrorists a safe haven, that helps the Afghan people develop the capacity to secure their own future."

But no strategy for Afghanistan, said Mr. Biden, can succeed without Pakistan. The U.S. and its allies must strengthen their cooperation with the people and government of Pakistan, help them stabilize their Tribal Areas, promote economic development and opportunity throughout their country.

Even as the United States fights against extremism, it does not believe in a clash of civilizations, Vice President Biden said:

"In the Muslim world a small number of violent extremists are beyond the call of reason. We will, and we must defeat them. But hundreds of millions of hearts and minds in the Muslim world share the values we hold dearly. We must reach them."

The United States is renewing its emphasis on diplomacy, development and defense in dealing with the challenges of this new century. But when all else fails the United States and its allies must be prepared to use force, said Vice President Biden:

"When it comes to radical groups that use terror as a tool, radical states who harbor extremists, undermine peace and seek or spread weapons of mass destruction, and regimes that systematically kill or ethnically cleanse their own people, we must stand united and use every means at our disposal to end the threat that they pose."

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