Use of force self-defeating, says U.S. President

Pakistan on Friday found solace and vindication in U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech outlining Washington’s counterterrorism strategy for the future, particularly, the observations made on the controversial drone programme that has been the bane of bilateral relations.

Reacting to Mr. Obama’s remarks on “The future of our fight against terrorism” at the National Defence University in Fort McNair, Washington, the Foreign Office said Pakistan appreciated his acknowledgement that “force alone cannot make us safer”, pointing out that Islamabad had for long been advocating a comprehensive strategy for addressing the root causes that foster terrorism and extremism.

Mr. Obama said: “We cannot use force everywhere that a radical ideology takes root; and in the absence of a strategy that reduces the wellspring of extremism, a perpetual war — through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments — will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways.”

However, from his speech, it was evident that the drone strikes would not end soon either. He said troops in Afghanistan would be supported till 2014-end in the Afghan war theatre — of which the tribal areas of Pakistan have become an extension on the premise that terrorists who attack coalition forces west of the ‘Durand Line’ seek haven in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.