Holbrooke says US facing dilemma in Pak

Holbrooke says US facing dilemma in Pak

Richard Holbrooke

"The dilemma is that the leadership of both al-Qaeda and Taliban are in a neighbouring country (of Afghanistan) where our troops cannot fight. And therefore we have to find other means, working for the Pakistanis and other means, to deal with the groups...," Holbrooke, the Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, said.

If the US was to abandon Afghanistan or pull out troops, the Obama Administration believes that the Taliban and al- Qaeda would win an enormous international victory which would inspire tens of thousands of potential 'jihadists', shift the balance in a very negative way and give a much larger terrain for al-Qaeda to play in.

"The Pakistanis were very instrumental in creating the Taliban, as you well know, in the period after the United States abandoned Afghanistan in 1989, which history will record as one of the great mistakes of American foreign policy," Holbrooke said in an interview to the popular Charlie Rose show of the PBS.

Asked what impact has been in Pakistan due to some very high-profile US visits in recent weeks, he said that is yet to be determined. But argued the US is making progress in the region and Pakistan is now more receptive.
Responding to another question, Holbrooke asserted that there are no American troops in Pakistan.

When asked about the possibility of presence of CIA people and special operations agents in Pakistan, he said "we have members of our intelligence services in every country in the world. You know that."

Supporting the highly unpopular drone attacks in Pakistan, he said this has been very successful from the US point of view.

"Some of the most dangerous people in the world ... and posing the most serious threats imaginable to the United States and Pakistan at the beginning of this year are not alive today... (like) Baitullah Mehsud, the director of al-Qaeda's external operations. These are men who the Pakistani army has announced accurately are no longer alive," he said. "These are very important moves forward."

"Al-Qaeda has been under the most intense pressure, and we are working very closely with the Pakistanis on that," Holbrooke said, but refrained from answering questions as to why Pakistan is not willing to take any action against the Haqqani network which is closely linked to Taliban.

"I am very reluctant to go into more details. All I can say to you is that these are issues that we talked to the Pakistanis about in private and they should remain private. But Pakistan's change in this issue over the last six to eight months has been a big positive for the United States," he said.

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