Clinton: Karzai didn’t really mean he would side with Pakistan in war against U.S.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified today that Afghan President Hamid Karzai‘s comment that he would fight with Pakistan in a future war against the United States was misreported and taken out of context. "If fighting starts between Pakistan and the U.S., we are beside Pakistan," Karzai said in an interview with the private Pakistani ...
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified today that Afghan President Hamid Karzai's comment that he would fight with Pakistan in a future war against the United States was misreported and taken out of context.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified today that Afghan President Hamid Karzai‘s comment that he would fight with Pakistan in a future war against the United States was misreported and taken out of context.
"If fighting starts between Pakistan and the U.S., we are beside Pakistan," Karzai said in an interview with the private Pakistani television station GEO on Oct. 22, only days after Clinton traveled to meet with him in Kabul. "If Pakistan is attacked and the people of Pakistan need Afghanistan’s help, Afghanistan will be there with you."
Karzai’s spokesman Seyamak Herawi said on Oct. 24 that the comment was "misinterpreted" by the media.
"They only showed the first part when the president says Afghanistan will back Pakistan if there is a war," he said. "Instead, the reference was to Afghanistan’s willingness to house refugees from Pakistan in case of any conflict, in the way that millions of Afghans are given refuge across the border in Pakistan’s northwestern frontier region."
Speaking before the House Foreign Affairs Committee this morning, Clinton told lawmakers that upon hearing the remark, she immediately contacted U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker and asked him to "go in and figure out what it meant."
"[Crocker] really believed that what Karzai was talking about was the long history of cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan — in particular, the refuge that Pakistan provided to millions of Afghans who were crossing the border, seeking safety during the Soviet invasion, during the warlordism, during the Taliban period, and that it was not at all about a war that anybody was predicting and that it was, you know, taken out of context and misunderstood," Clinton said, backing up the clarification by Karzai’s spokesman.
Clinton testified that the current administration strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan contains three parallel tracks: fighting, talking, and building. She said she personally pressed Pakistani leadership to join the fight against the Taliban and the Haqqani network, which is based in Pakistan. Meanwhile, she also asked the Pakistani government to encourage the Haqqanis to come to the negotiating table.
"So in Islamabad last week, [Joint Chiefs Chairman] General [Martin] Dempsey, [CIA] Director [David] Petraeus and I delivered a single unified message: Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership must join us in squeezing the Haqqani network from both sides of the border and in closing safe havens," Clinton testified.
She did not seem too optimistic about the prospects of coming to terms with the Haqqani network through negotiations, and spoke of a meeting between the United States and the Haqqani network over the summer in an undisclosed location.
"There was such a meeting. There was nothing — it was not a negotiation. There was no follow-up meeting," Clinton said. "This was done in part because I think the Pakistanis hope to be able to move the Haqqani network towards some kind of peace negotiation. And the answer was an attack on our embassy."
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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