Posts Tagged ‘Asif Ali Zardari’

Hillary begins this chapter by recalling this historic moment in a room across from the Situation Room in the White House as Navy Seals stealthily entered that now famous compound in Abbottabad,  Pakistan.



Seen below with then-Governor Pataki and New York City Mayor Guiliani on September 12, 2001,  she retraces the air route from D.C. to New York on the only plane in the air that day.

New York Governor George Pataki (L), New

Memories of shuttling back and forth between the two cities, requesting emergency funding, visiting a missing persons center, a family assistance center, and a hospital near her home where burn victims were being treated are revisited as well as her struggle in the Senate to secure health care funding for first responders.

Hillary Clinton: Aid sick 9/11 workers


The campaign to find bin Laden had been long and the special ops mission had been carried out without informing the government of Pakistan.  More than once Hillary had said during interviews and town halls in that country that she could not believe that someone in the government did not know where Al Qaeda was.  Informing the government might have tipped our hand and spoiled the mission.

Bin Laden Killed Near Islamabad: Hillary Clinton was right!

Speaking about Asif Ali Zardari, she refers to a photo he shows her of his late wife, Benazir Bhutto with her children, Hillary, and Chelsea. This is not the photo, but might have been taken at that same time.


She spends pages reminiscing about Bhutto and what her loss meant to her family, her country, and the world.  She mentions that she and Chelsea loved Bhutto’s style so much that they wore similar outfits to a dinner in their honor.

BdF06rlIYAA3jWk.jpg large

Her first trip to Pakistan as secretary of state was just after her birthday in October 2009.  I was at a rally where Bill Clinton was speaking,  and I saw him tell Rep. Bill Pascrell something.  Pascrell whispered a question, and I could read Clinton’s lips.  He said, “No.  She’s safe.”  I tried so hard to get near him as he worked the crowd after the rally, but failed.  I so wanted to ask what had happened.

By the next day we all knew that coinciding with her arrival there was a terrible market bombing in Peshawar.

Clinton Reassures Pakistan After Bombing

Folks here at this blog liked her relationship with Pakistan’s foreign minister at the time.

Secretary Clinton Remarks With Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi

At a town hall in Lahore and in interviews with journalists she took hostile questions about the Kerry-Lugar aid bill. (Why did there have to be strings attached?  “You do not have to take any aid from us,” she answers.)  There were complaints about the drone attacks and the collateral damage they caused.

Secretary Clinton’s Town Hall at Government College University Lahore

In media interviews the whereabouts of bin Laden came up along with her suspicions that someone in the government knew where he was.

Secretary Clinton: Interviews Galore!

In February of 2010, Leon Panetta invited her to CIA headquarters in Langley, VA.   She refers to the stars on the wall in the lobby of the building that represent those officers killed in the line of duty.  We saw that wall last season on Showtime’s Homeland.

We saw an enactment,  in Kathryn Bigelow’s film Zero Dark Thirty,  of the bombing she speaks of that, in December 2009,  killed seven CIA officers in Afghanistan.

The reason for Panetta’s invitation was to ask for her cooperation in improving counterterrorism communications and clarifying our strategy to the Pakistanis.  After the barrage of complaints she faced in Pakistan, she was quick to agree.

The hunt for bin Laden began indeed to narrow to Pakistan, and, in March 2011,  Panetta  visited her at the State Department to tell her that they had a lead.    The operation to capture or kill bin Laden was dubbed “Neptune’s Spear.”  She walks us through the deliberations of the small, secret group that met regularly at the White House to plan the mission that was carried out the day following the Correspondents Dinner.  Hillary recounts the dramatic event in detail.

When the question of informing Pakistani officials in advance presented itself, some worried about Pakistan’s national honor.  Hillary countered asking,  “What about our national honor?”  She remained consistently certain that elements within the government who knew where bin Laden was would inform him.

Of course the president addressed the nation that night.
Bin Laden Obama

The following day, Hillary also made a statement.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on the killing of Usama Bin Ladin

She was understandably not looking forward to speaking with the Pakistani officials, and her conversation with President Zardari was heartbreaking, but she remained firm and resolved explaining to him the need for cooperation.

NATO supply lines into Afghanistan were closed after friendly fire killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011.

Following an apologetic phone call from Hillary (at her suggestion to President Obama) to new Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, the supply lines were reopened and the bottle-neck was broken up.

Hillary Breaks Up Bottleneck – Supply Lines Reopen

Part of the communication strategy she put forth with Leon Panetta’s CIA involved the establishment of a Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications.  The approval for that did not come until September 9, 2011.  She announced it that same day in New York City.

Hillary Clinton Explains a Smart Power Approach to Counterterrorism

Finally, she spoke at UNGA in Spetember 2011 on the inauguration of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.

Remarks on the Global Counterterrorism Forum



This is a painful chapter to read, and must have been even more painful for her to write.  Memories of 9/11, even now, remain raw, and, for Hillary, Benazir Bhutto was clearly a personal loss.  In her typically well-organized manner, she presents  the steps she suggested to combat terrorism, the initiatives she put into place, and the arguments she waged when faced with opposition.



Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>





Read Full Post »

The chapter title is homage to Richard Holbrooke whose book by that title recounted his negotiations to end hostilities in the Balkans, also his objective in his oversight of the Af-Pak region.  Explaining that insurgencies rarely end with the surrender of a side but rather as a result of persistent diplomacy, Hillary states that from the start she insisted that the needs and concerns of Afghan women be taken into account, an issue she raised at the March 2009 Conference on Afghanistan.

Playing Catch-up With Mme. Secretary: The Hague Afghanistan Conference


A major objective in all diplomatic dealings on Afghanistan was the goal of peeling off the less ideological among the Taliban and winning them over to the mainstream government, a controversial policy that Hillary defends staunchly in this chapter.  Referring to statements she made at the London Conference on Afghanistan in January 2010,  she cites the conditions:  abandoning violence, breaking with Al Qaeda, and supporting the constitution. The process is referred to alternately as reconciliation and reintegration.  The links below provide Hillary’s words on this issue as well as on issues concerning the welfare of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Video & Text: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on Yemen with UK FM Miliband & Yemeni FM Al-Qirbi

Hillary Clinton at Afghanistan – The London Conference 01-28-10

Hillary Clinton’s Remarks at Afghanistan: The London Conference 01-28-10 Video & Text

Hillary Clinton, Busy in London

Reconciliation of non-ideological insurgents remained a strong item on the agenda when she and Robert Gates attended the NATO Summit in Brussels in October 2010.

Secretaries Clinton and Gates in Brussels

Richard Holbrooke reasoned that if Afghanistan and Pakistan could forge relations beneficial to both,  cooperation in battling terrorist activities could be strengthened.  Thus came about a trade agreement signed by both countries in Islamabad in July 2010 which was the inception of “The New Silk Road.”

Hillary Clinton: More Pics from Pakistan

Hillary refers to a roundtable with TV journalists during this trip wherein she explained the necessity for Afghan-Pakistani relations to be strengthened as well as the reconciliation agenda.  It was testy, yet she remained resiliently cheerful and optimistic in her signature way (another reason we love her).

Hillary Clinton’s Roundtable in Pakistan with TV Journalists

Video: Hillary Clinton With Six Pakistani Interviewers At One Time – Holds Her Own! AWESOME!

She mentions that this policy was reinforced at the Lisbon NATO Conference.  She did not speak there.  She attended with President Obama who did the speaking that time around (but there are some amusing photos in the link below).

Hillary Clinton at NATO Lisbon: Saturday Wrap and Slideshow


Early the next month, with the holiday season gearing up,  Richard Holbrooke became ill during a meeting with her at the State Department.  She recounts the painful hours from the time he went to the infirmary in the building through his death at George Washington University Hospital.  It was a devastating blow to her, to the department, to his colleagues, and to people the world over with whom Holbrooke had worked.

Update on Ambassador Richard Holbrooke

Update on Ambassador Richard Holbrooke

Ambassador Holbrooke Has Passed Away

December 13, 2010 by still4hill

The day he died, there was a holiday party at the State Department.  Holbrooke’s widow, Kati Marton, attended.  Here are Hillary’s remarks.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at Holiday Reception for the Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions to the United States

Secretary Clinton’s Statement on the Passing of Richard Holbrooke

Although she did not, in the book,  include specific references to these next two addresses,  I am including them here as part of the record of the Afghanistan and Af-Pak policy status at that time.

Video – Secretary Clinton’s Remarks: Review of the War in Afghanistan

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Briefing on Afghanistan and Pakistan

The memorial for Richard Holbrooke was held in mid-January 2011.  At the memorial, his friends remembered his great humor and huge personality.

Slideshow: Secretary Clinton at the Holbrooke Inaugural Lecture and the Memorial Service

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Holbrooke Memorial

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Launch of the Asia Society’s Series of Richard C. Holbrooke Memorial Addresses

A negotiating office where the U.S. could talk with Taliban representatives opened and quickly closed in Yemen where the Taliban made it appear too official for Karzai’s liking. By the December 2011 conference  in Bonn,  things had turned.  Pakistan did not show up, and Karzai began to distrust U.S.-Taliban negotiations.  The Taliban, in turn,  pulled out distrusting Karzai.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks in Bonn on Afghanistan

Her last official meeting with Karzai as secretary of state was in January 2013 shortly after she returned to D.C.  following  her illness and concussion.  (Not to be nitpicky, but she worked from home and even from the hospital while she was ill, so I did not want to say she returned “to work,”  She had been working all along.)   She hosted Karzai at a private dinner in the James Monroe Room and states that she appealed to his sense of his own legacy at this meeting.

Hillary Clinton with Hamid Karzai

She ends the chapter with a quote from Holbrooke: “The only way to start ending a war is to begin talking.”



Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>





Read Full Post »

Vodpod videos no longer available.

U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Consultations II


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
May 6, 2009

Date: 05/06/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at the U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Consultations II  State Dept Photo SECRETARY CLINTON: Good morning, and welcome to the State Department. This is what’s called the Benjamin Franklin Room, after one of our early and most important leaders. And today, we are welcoming to the Franklin Room two very important leaders who are leading their countries at a difficult time in history, who are working hard to maintain and nurture democracy, and who understand that we face a common enemy. We may come from different places and have different backgrounds, but we are facing a common enemy and we have therefore made common cause together.
And so it is a great privilege to welcome President Karzai and President Zardari. I have known President Zardari for a longer period of time, going back many years now. And I was a great admirer and a friend of his late wife, who I thought was an extraordinary leader. And I am pleased to welcome him here as the democratically elected president of his country.
And I have known President Karzai now for about seven years.
Date: 05/06/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at the U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Consultations II  State Dept PhotoSECRETARY CLINTON: And I have greatly appreciated our relationship. I was very moved when President Karzai came to Fort Drum in far upstate New York on one of his early trips to the United States to thank the men and women of the 10th Mountain Division, the most deployed division in the U.S. Army, for their service in Afghanistan during the war that has gone on.
So it’s going to be a great privilege and pleasure for me to work on behalf of our common cause. Now, both presidents bring with them very distinguished delegations, their ambassadors and ministers, many of whom I also know and respect and have worked with. And we are especially pleased to welcome President Zardari’s son, Mr. Bhutto Zardari, to be here as well.
Now, presidents, we have with us a number of members of President Obama’s cabinet and high-ranking officials in departments in the United States Government. We will be hearing from them during the course of the morning. But let me introduce Ambassador Patterson, whom you know, the Ambassador to Pakistan; Director Mueller, the leader of the FBI; of course, you’ve met Director Panetta of the CIA and Special Representative Holbrooke.
Secretary Vilsack may be a new face to you. He is the Secretary of Agriculture, and it is an area that we intend to work on with each of you. We think that there are great opportunities to assist the farmers of both Pakistan and Afghanistan. I was very pleased to learn, Secretary Vilsack, that one of the early decisions President Zardari made is paying off because they’re back to being self-sufficient in wheat, maybe even selling some to their neighbors in the future. So we have a lot that we can bring to the table to work with you.
Jack Lew is the Deputy Secretary for Resources and Management in this Department. He has been to both of your countries recently and is working with your finance ministers and others on very specific planning. Next is Acting Administrator of USAID Alonzo Fulgham, and of course, Michele Flournoy, who is Under Secretary for Planning – Policy, who is a very experienced expert in defense matters. And then, of course, you all know General Petraeus.
Date: 05/06/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton talks with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at the U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Consultations II .  State Dept PhotoNow, the presence of this distinguished group of U.S. officials from different federal agencies reflects President Obama’s and my strong belief that promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan must be an all-government effort. Now, this is not just the State Department’s responsibility or the Defense Department’s, but it is all of us working together. And based on the delegations that are here, I think both the presidents agree with that as well.
We have made this common cause because we face a common threat, and we have a common task and a common challenge. We know that each of your countries is struggling with the extremists who would destabilize and undermine democracy. An ancient Afghan proverb says “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” We know that this consultation is part of a continuing process. It began with our first trilateral. It continued with the international conference in The Hague, with the Tokyo donors conference, and now we are once again meeting here in Washington.
Through these ongoing consultations, we believe we can strengthen our partnership and our cooperation. Now, we are not perfect. No human being is. We will make mistakes. But we need to have the kind of open dialogue where we express our concerns about those mistakes. I am very grateful for the excellent relationships that I have with Minister Qureshi and Minister Spanta, and we want to create those relationships throughout our governments so that we learn from each other, we listen to each other, and then we do better – do better tomorrow.
On that note, I wish to express my personal regret and certainly the sympathy of our Administration on the loss of civilian life in Afghanistan. We deeply regret it. We don’t know all of the circumstances or causes, and there will be a joint investigation by your government and ours. But any loss of life, any loss of innocent life, is particularly painful. And I want to convey to the people of both Afghanistan and Pakistan that we will work very hard with your governments and with your leaders to avoid the loss of innocent civilian life. And we deeply, deeply regret that loss.
We are working with Congress to provide additional support to augment security in both countries. We are deploying additional U.S. soldiers and military trainers to Afghanistan. But we know that success will not come from military means alone, that what we must do and what both Secretary Gates and I emphasized in congressional testimony is the importance of diplomacy and development aid. And we reiterated our support for Congress’s efforts to triple nonmilitary spending for these democratically elected governments. We believe you earned it and deserve to have that level of support.
We will be increasing our civilian presence in cooperation with the ministries that are present here and other elements of both governments. And today’s discussions will center on concrete initiatives. I like to know specifically what we’re going to try to do together. I like us to reach agreement on that, and then to specify the steps we will take together to achieve our common goals. I think that helps to eliminate the confusion that comes with distance and misunderstanding. So we will start today to create the kind of work plans that will guide our efforts together.
And we’ll be talking today about the concrete initiatives to expand economic opportunities and trade, to bolster the agricultural sector as an essential source of revenue and jobs in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, to help build up the industrial sector in Pakistan again so that it is creating more jobs and opportunities for people, and to improve our joint cooperation on security.
I will also reinforce, as I have on many occasions, that this is not just me speaking, but this is the American Government speaking; that we do not believe either Afghanistan or Pakistan can achieve lasting progress without the full participation of all of your citizens, including women and girls. The rights of women must be respected and protected. This is a time for, as we say, all hands on deck. The entire population, the talents of everyone, must be engaged.
I am pleased to announce that Afghanistan and Pakistan have reached an important milestone in their efforts to generate foreign investment and stronger economic growth and trade opportunities. Before President Karzai and President Zardari meet with President Obama this morning, the two ministers, Minister Qureshi and Minister Spanta, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding committing their countries to achieving a trade transit agreement by the end of the year, which we believe will have great economic benefits for both peoples.
This is an historic event. This agreement has been under discussion for 43 years without resolution. But when I think about Afghanistan and Pakistan, and I look at the map of the world and see how strategically located both countries are, this is an agreement that will bring prosperity to both countries, along the trade routes and beyond. Nothing opens up an area to economic development better than a good road with good transit rules and an ability to transport goods and people effectively. So we think this will be enormously beneficial, and I congratulate both countries.
It will also help us bring more foreign direct investment into both countries, because that’s always the first question: How do we get our goods to market? How do we get them to another economy in another country? This is a very concrete and positive step.
So we are encouraged by the progress that this agreement and this second trilateral meeting represent, and we see it as a harbinger for the productive consultations we anticipate over the next two days.
I would now like to introduce President Karzai to deliver brief remarks. He will be followed by President Zardari to also deliver remarks. President Karzai.
PRESIDENT KARZAI: (Started off with traditional blessing/greeting in Arabic.) Begin entire remarks in English: Thank you very much, Madame Secretary. It’s a pleasure for us, and I can speak on behalf of both Afghanistan and Pakistan at this point, to thank you and the President for giving us this unique opportunity of the presence here in the United States to discuss the issues of terrorism and of combating terrorism, and stability and peace, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and by consequence in the region and beyond. This initiative, I’m certain, through the implementation of the strategy outlined earlier by President Obama, will bring us the needed relief towards a better, more peaceful life in both of our countries
Madame Secretary, thank you very much for showing concern and regrets for the civilian casualties that are caused, especially for the one that was caused yesterday. We appreciate that, and we hope we can work together towards reducing and eventually completely removing the possibilities of civilian casualties as we move ahead in our war against terrorism or in our struggle against terrorism.
Madame Secretary, Afghanistan would like to assure the United States, its most valued strategic ally, and Pakistan, its neighbor, brother, friend. What I described yesterday is exactly true. Pakistan and Afghanistan are conjoined twins. Our suffering is shared, our joys are always shared. The life that we live is affected by the opportunities that we have and the lack of opportunities that occurs because of the circumstances in which we live today.
Madame Secretary, I will be very brief in my remarks. At this point, I would suffice that at occasions like today, Afghanistan will use, to the best of its possibility and ability, to deliver to the effectiveness of what we are doing together for stability and to do the right thing with regard to relations with Pakistan in bringing more confidence, more trust, and a working environment in which the two countries together can wage a more effective struggle against the menace of terrorism and the violence that radicalism causes both in Pakistan and in Afghanistan and the danger that they pose to you in America and the rest of the world.
I would request our brothers and sisters in Pakistan to count on us in the best possible manner that Afghanistan will go along in order to eventually provide a life of peace and prosperity to both countries. Now as we move ahead, there will be areas of practical work and cooperation. In that too, Afghanistan will contribute.
Madame Secretary, do have full confidence in us, as the two countries sit together, that we’ll be friends with you and colleagues with you. And the journey that we have together will take us where we intend to be. And the right environment, as it is created today, I hope we’ll continue to insist upon and have kept. Thank you.
PRESIDENT ZARDARI: (Started off with traditional blessing/greeting in Arabic.) Begin entire remarks in English: Madame Secretary, thank you for having us. My dear brother President Karzai, thanking for being here and giving – Madame, thank you for giving us this opportunity. Let me begin by thanking President Obama for his vision and, of course, my friend, my wife’s friend and my friend, and the hope for the beacon of the world, Secretary Clinton, for her leadership in arranging this historic meeting of our three democracies.
And today, we sit here as three democratic states and joined together in the history of democracy looking forward to working together. Pakistan faces many challenges. Our democracy is trying to overcome these challenges. We need the nurturing of democracy of the world. The oldest most powerful democracy of the world, the extended democracies of the world, we need – my democracy needs attention and needs nurturing.
We thank the United States for its support for democracy, for security in Pakistan and look forward to further support. Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States are all victims of terror, as is indeed the entire world. Our threat is common and our responsibilities should be shared. I am here to assure you that we shall share this burden with you all. For no matter how long it takes and what it takes, democracies will deliver. My democracy will deliver. People of Pakistan stand with the people of the United States and the people of Afghanistan. We stand with our brother Karzai and the people of Afghanistan against this common threat, this menace, which I have called cancer. This is a cancer. It needs to be done away with. Pakistan carries a huge burden confronting al-Qaida and Taliban together. But we are up to the challenge because we are the democracy, and democracy is the only cure to this challenge.
Just as the United States is making progress after seven years of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will – we too will make progress over time. Democracies in – democracy in Pakistan is only seven months old. And during this period, we have performed better than the dictatorships in the previous many years. I look forward to our discussions, especially our meetings with President Obama, with whom the whole world attaches a lot of hope and especially our coming generations in Pakistan.
I think the U.S. – I thank the U.S. Congress for supporting the emergency economic and security assistance for Pakistan. I am here to assure Americans, partners that while we will need high level of support in the days to come, we will also be far more transparent in our actions. Democracy will avenge the death of my wife and the thousands of other Pakistanis and citizens of the world. Pakistani democracy will deliver. The terrorists will be defeated by our joint struggle. And here, me, my friend President Karzai, and the United States assure the world that we will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the world to fight this cancer and this threat.
Thank you, gentlemen.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, presidents. And now, I am pleased to witness the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding to commence the transit treaty negotiations.
(The Memorandum of Understanding is signed.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. That was very good. (Applause.)

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: