U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday said she believed that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and Taliban spiritual head Mullah Omar were in Pakistan and, asserted that it would be helpful to the war on terror if “we could take them.”
Ms. Clinton made this observation during an interaction with Pakistanis here.
Elaborating on the ongoing efforts at reconciliation in Afghanistan, she sought to counter misgivings about contradictions in the U.S. policy of continuing its war on terror while entering into dialogue with the Taliban.
“There is no contradiction in defeating those who want to fight and opening the door for dialogue to those who want to reconcile.”
As to whether the U.S. would allow Pakistan or Afghanistan to negotiate with the Haqqani network, she advocated extreme caution; stating that they should enter into negotiations with great care.
Drawing the broad parameters for reconciliation, she said anyone who wanted to reconcile had to abide by the Constitution and the law of Afghanistan, which included women's rights.
“We believe that creating stability in Afghanistan is in everyone's interest and we appreciate the cooperation from the Pakistan government and military.”
According to Ms. Clinton, creating a base for a democratic government in Afghanistan was in everyone's interest.
Earlier in the day, in a media interaction, she said the U.S. hoped to be able to defeat those who were not prepared to reconcile as they posed a threat to Afghanistan and by extension to Pakistan.
And, during the course of the day, she also made it clear that the U.S. would be around for a long time after the combat troops were gone.
While she steered clear of getting caught in taking sides on the long-standing issues between India and Pakistan, Ms. Clinton did try to impress upon Islamabad the importance of water management when asked whether the U.S. would mediate between the two neighbours on the issue of water.
Stating that the Indus Water Treaty and the in-built mechanism for dispute resolution still held promise, she warned that Pakistan would have to face questions on water management when it seeks external arbitration.