Clinton ‘quite impressed’ with Pakistani government

Hillary Clinton, Hamid Karzi, Asif Ali Zardari, May 6, 2009   Just two weeks ago, Secretary Clinton expressed concern that the Pakistani government was “basically abdicating to the Taliban and the extremists” when it signed a deal to let pro-Taliban militants impose their extremist version of sharia in Swat Valley. Since then, however, Clinton’s views ...

586032_090507_ClintonKarzaiZardari2.jpg
586032_090507_ClintonKarzaiZardari2.jpg
WASHINGTON - MAY 05: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) speaks at the State Department with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai (L) and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (R) during trilateral consultations May 5, 2009 in Washington, DC. Karzai and Zardari are scheduled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House later today. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

 

Just two weeks ago, Secretary Clinton expressed concern that the Pakistani government was "basically abdicating to the Taliban and the extremists" when it signed a deal to let pro-Taliban militants impose their extremist version of sharia in Swat Valley. Since then, however, Clinton's views about the Pakistani government seem to have moderated.

At the White House briefing after yesterday's trilateral with the Afghan and Pakistani presidents, Clinton was asked whether she thought the Pakistani government was "at risk of abdicating to the Taliban." Her response:

Hillary Clinton, Hamid Karzi, Asif Ali Zardari, May 6, 2009

Hillary Clinton, Hamid Karzi, Asif Ali Zardari, May 6, 2009
 

Just two weeks ago, Secretary Clinton expressed concern that the Pakistani government was “basically abdicating to the Taliban and the extremists” when it signed a deal to let pro-Taliban militants impose their extremist version of sharia in Swat Valley. Since then, however, Clinton’s views about the Pakistani government seem to have moderated.

At the White House briefing after yesterday’s trilateral with the Afghan and Pakistani presidents, Clinton was asked whether she thought the Pakistani government was “at risk of abdicating to the Taliban.” Her response:

Well, I’m actually quite impressed by the actions that the Pakistani government is now taking. I think that action was called for and action has been forthcoming.

This is a long, difficult struggle. And the leadership of Pakistan, both civilian and military, really had to work on significant paradigm shifts in order to be able to see this threat as those of us on the outside perceived it. And I think that has occurred, and I think that there is a resolve going forward.

Clinton also confirmed the U.S. government’s support for Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, saying:

At the formal bilateral that I held with President Zardari at the State Department, I reaffirmed our government’s strong support for him as the democratically elected president. Being able to say “democratically elected president of Pakistan” is not a common phrase, and I think it’s imperative that we support President Zardari.

Additionally, Clinton stressed the need for patience and delayed gratification:

An ancient Afghan proverb says, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” I think that patience is not always in great supply inside our own government, or even inside our own country. But I think in this instance, the kind of patient strategy that the president has adopted and the steps that we are all taking to implement this strategy is the only way forward. It may not give you a story every day, but hopefully it will give us all a better story next year and the years to come.

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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