US President Barack Obama recognizes Pakistan’s role in Afghan peace process

Saturday, January 12th, 2013 10:36:21 by

US President Barack Obama recognized the importance of Pakistan’s support for peace and stability in Afghanistan, seeing greater awareness in Islamabad on addressing extremism in the region.


Speaking after long deliberations at the White House with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the way forward in Afghanistan and the region, Obama said curbing extremism in Pakistan-Afghanistan border region would require political and diplomatic cooperation between the two neighbours and not just military action.


Addressing a joint press conference with Karzai, President Obama said the US and Afghanistan recommitted themselves to political reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban.


“Today we agreed that this process should be advanced by opening of a Taliban office to facilitate talks,” he said after the talks, which also covered the scope of the US-Afghanistan cooperation beyond 2014, when the US-led Afghan war officially ends.


Obama said if some US forces stayed in Afghanistan beyond 2014, their mission and role would be to train the Afghan forces and carry out targeted actions against al Qaeda and its affiliates. The US president specifically noted that Afghan reconciliation would require constructive support from Islamabad and welcomed the recent steps towards that end.


“Reconciliation also requires constructive support from across the region including Pakistan. We welcome recent steps that have been taken in that regard. We look for more tangible steps because a stable and secure Afghanistan is in the interests of not only of the Afghan people and the United States but entire region.”


The US president emphasized that Afghanistan, the United States and Pakistan all have an interest in reducing the threat of extremism in some of the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan.


“That is going to require more than simply taking military actions. That is really going to require political and diplomatic work between Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Obama added the US obviously would have an interest in facilitating cooperation between the two sovereign neighbors.


“As President Karzai has indicated it is very hard to imagine stability and peace in the region if Pakistan and Afghanistan don’t come to some basic agreement and understanding about the threat of extremism to both countries and both governments in both capitals.” “I think we are starting to see a greater awareness on that on part of the Pakistani government,” Obama added.

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