U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently traveled to Islamabad to have direct, candid, and constructive conversations about how to work through the challenges in the bilateral relationship and to capitalize on opportunities. Both countries have many common goals, said Secretary Clinton: "We seek to defeat violent extremism, end the conflict in Afghanistan, and ensure a secure, stable, democratic, prosperous future for Pakistan. And we expect to work closely with the government and the people of Pakistan to achieve those ends."
For the past decade, many of the world's most vicious terrorists, including al-Qaida's top leaders, have been living in Pakistan. From there they have targeted people all over the world. "But no nation," said Secretary Clinton, "has sacrificed more lives in this struggle against violent extremism than Pakistan has." Together, the U.S. and Pakistan have killed or captured many of these terrorists on Pakistani soil. This could not have been done without close cooperation between the American and Pakistani militaries and intelligence agencies. But more needs to be done, said Secretary Clinton. During their meeting, leaders from both countries discussed additional ways to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida and to drive them from Pakistan and the region.
With regard to Afghanistan, both the U.S. and Pakistan have an interest in a safe, stable Afghanistan that is not a source of insecurity for its neighbors or others. The United States is supporting an Afghan-led process that seeks to split the Taliban from al-Qaida and reconcile those insurgents who will renounce violence and accept the constitution of Afghanistan. Pakistan has a responsibility to help the United States with the situation in Afghanistan by preventing insurgents from waging war from Pakistani territory.
A third area of mutual concern is the future of Pakistan itself. The United States has been a very good friend and partner to Pakistan, providing billions of dollars in new assistance to address Pakistan's energy and other economic challenges. The United States is prepared to stand by Pakistan for the long haul. "But it is up to the Pakistani people to choose what kind of country they want to live in," said Secretary of State Clinton, "And it is up to the leaders of Pakistan to deliver results for the people."
The United States, said Secretary Clinton "will stand with you and support you as you make the tough decisions to have the kind of country and future that the people of Pakistan deserve."