Hillary: Pakistan used terror outfits against India

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she cannot confirm whether Pakistan has stopped the use of terror against India and Afghanistan. File photo   | Photo Credit: Evan Vucci

Pakistan has used terror outfits as a hedge against India, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, but she implied that things might not have changed completely.

In an honest assessment of the situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, Ms. Clinton acknowledged that the U.S. policy of creating the ‘mujahideen' to oust the Soviet Union from Afghanistan had boomeranged.

Pakistan's policy towards India and Afghanistan was “changing” for the better, but she could not vouch for a U-turn. “They [Pakistan] have in the past hedged against both India and an unfriendly regime in Afghanistan by supporting groups that will be their proxies in trying to prevent either India or an unfriendly Afghan government from undermining their position.”

“That is changing... Now, I cannot sit here and tell you that it has changed, but that is changing,” she told ABC News in an interview the transcripts of which were released by the State Department.

Ms. Clinton admitted that the U.S. had created radical outfits and supported terrorists like Osama bin Laden to fight the Soviet Union, but that strategy had boomeranged. “Part of what we are fighting against right now, the United States created. We created the Mujahideen force against the Soviet Union [in Afghanistan]. We trained them, we equipped them, we funded them, including somebody named Osama bin Laden.” “And it didn't work out so well for us,” she said.

“Paying a big price”

The Secretary of the State said Pakistan was paying a “big price” for supporting the U.S. war against terror groups. “... I think it is important to note that as they have made these adjustments in their own assessment of their national interests, they're paying a big price for it.”

“And it's not an easy calculation for them to make. But we are making progress [in Afghanistan]. We have a long way to go, and we can't be impatient... Well, the headlines are bad. We're going home. We cannot do that,” she said.

Appearing on the same show, Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Pakistan has withdrawn an equivalent of six divisions of its army from the Indian border, moving them to the war zone with the Taliban. “They're attacking the Taliban- Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, and safe havens that are a problem for us.” Gates said.

Unwise to blame us, says Pakistan

Reacting to Ms. Clinton's comments on Pakistan's policy of using terror outfits against India and Afghanistan, Pakistan's Foreign Office said his country was trying to deal with extremist forces and it would be unwise to blame it.

“I think this is a regional issue. In all countries, we do have forces which are extremists, which are violent, and we are trying to handle them,” spokesman Abdul Basit told an Indian TV channel.

Playing a blame game, he said, would not help to resolve the problems of the region. “... so to blame any one country, I think, is not the way... nor will it help in any manner to address this very serious issue in our region.”

In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs said India hoped to see “movement” on the part of Islamabad towards dismantling the terror infrastructure, an issue it has been raising unequivocally.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 9:02:44 PM |

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