US expects Pak to renounce terrorism, act against safe havens

"Applied to Pakistan's future an (US) expectation of really two things. One is to renounce the use of terror as an instrument of foreign policy, which most countries around the world do, and the other is to ultimately move against terrorist safe havens that exist, cause the Afghan, the rate of progress to be difficult and take longer than perhaps it should," said General (rtd) James Jones said.

Jones, who was the NSA for the US President Barack Obama during the first two years of his administration, was responding to questions at the National Press Club.

"We will have to wait and see how this plays out after all the intelligence is analysed. There is a clearer picture of who knew what and when, and then to see if Pakistan and the US can get together and may be re-baseline the relationship and go into what is an absolutely strategically important relationship that will not only -- the solution to which will also provide for more stability not only affect and help Pakistan's future in the long term, but also in Afghanistan and to the east in India," Jones said.

The former NSA said Pakistan and the fate of Osama Bin Laden are intertwined in the ultimate outcome for Afghanistan and the entire region.

"Bin Laden's fate and the fate of the majority of al- Qaeda's leadership over the past few years should serve as a clear warning to those who would lead such movements in the future. Like no one since perhaps Hitler and Stalin, Bin Laden unified much of the world against his type of threat," he said.

"The result is now clear. The world is safer because of the astounding progress made by the cohesion of operational and intelligence assets of many of our governments, who see this menace as an attack against us all.

"This is a major achievement which should not be ignored, where human, technological and the need for rapid decision-making now permits us to be more confident that Osama bin Laden and others like him will fail," he said.

Jones said that the fallout with Pakistan over discovery of bin Laden's now operational headquarters near Islamabad would have important and perhaps long-lasting consequences.

"Pakistan has thus far resisted the offer of a long- term strategic relationship with the US and other countries, which would help bring a better life for its citizens and a more peaceful region to its east and to its west," Jones said.

While Pakistan should be given credit for some incremental progress in rooting out some terrorists within their borders, notably in Swat Valley and south Waziristan, which were both successful military interventions, the undeniable fact is that since their deeply flawed decision to not put their army along the border with Afghanistan, in this and 2006, thinking that the tribes would, in exchange for the army not being present, would patrol the border and prevent illegal crossings, he said.

"Pakistan has become a selective safe haven for terrorists and terrorist leaders and this fact alone has resulted in prolonging the efforts in Afghanistan and continues to cause us and our allies to suffer many more casualties and to deplete our national treasures at a time when, obviously, we can ill afford to do so," he said.

"Like Egypt, though, the strategic importance of Pakistan cannot be overstated, and despite the current tensions between our countries over the bin Laden incident, and with regard to safe havens, it is time to consider the possibilities that we can ensure that the conclusion to the hunt for bin Laden will become a starting point for a renewed effort to find the common ground on issues that we should all care about and that affect our national -- our collective -- security, and our future hopes for regional peace, which will be to the betterment of Pakistan and its people and to the betterment of its neighbours on either side," Jones said.

Failure to capitalise in a positive way on this strategic moment would be a mistake of significant proportions, he warned.

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