Washington, Oct 13: Expressing “frustration” over Pakistan's double-game in Afghanistan, the US has said that Islamabad “has to be part of the solution, or they will continue to be part of the problem” in the war-torn country.
Describing America's relations with Pakistan as “very difficult”, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration is pushing the country on several issues on which it holds it accountable.
“We are deeply engaged in finding ways to enhance cooperation with Pakistan and to further the Afghan desire for a legitimate peace and reconciliation process,” Clinton said after a lecture on American Global Leadership at the Centre for American Progress here yesterday.
“So that's a long way of saying that Pakistan has to be part of the solution, or they will continue to be part of the problem,” she said when asked to comment on Pakistan's role in the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
“Therefore, as frustrating as it is, we just keep every day going at it, and I think we make very slow, sometimes barely discernible progress, but we're moving in the right direction,” she said.
US-Pakistan relations have been strained since the May 2 raid by American special forces that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad. The ties were further affected after senior US officials, including President Barack Obama, called for Pakistan's ISI to sever its links with militant groups like the dreaded Haqqani network which carry out attacks on US interests and American forces in Afghanistan.
At the same time, Clinton acknowledged that Pakistan had a “big stake” in neighbouring Afghanistan.
“Everybody knows Pakistan has a big stake in the outcome of what goes on across their border, and they are going to be involved one way or the other,” she said.
What the Obama administration is doing with Pakistan, she said, is to “continue to push forward on what our expectations are from Pakistan and hold them accountable on a range of issues that we have laid out for them.”
“This is a very difficult relationship, but I believe strongly that it is not one we can walk away from and expect that anything will turn out better, because I don't believe that will be the case.