Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

Secretary Clinton’s Call with Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 3, 2011

Today U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. She once again expressed condolences to the families of the soldiers and to the Pakistani people for the tragic and unintended loss of life in Mohmand last weekend. She reiterated America’s respect for Pakistan’s sovereignty and commitment to working together in pursuit of shared objectives on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect.

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Release of the Status Report: Afghanistan and Pakistan Civilian Engagement

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
November 4, 2011

The civilian surge in Afghanistan and Pakistan that President Obama launched in 2009 to accompany the military surge in Afghanistan has helped advance our goals of defeating al-Qaeda, reversing the Taliban’s momentum in key areas, and bolstering the economy and civil society of both countries. As U.S. troops begin a phased drawdown in Afghanistan as part of the larger plan for transition, our civilian initiatives in both Afghanistan and Pakistan are assuming new importance.

This report provides a thorough review of our civilian efforts, identifies significant challenges and areas of progress, and outlines the way forward. It places the work of our diplomats, development experts, and other civilian specialists within the framework of our “fight, talk, build” strategy. We will continue the fight, as coalition and Afghan forces increase the pressure on the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and other insurgents. We will continue supporting an Afghan-led peace process that meets our red-lines. This won’t be easy, but reconciliation is still possible and is the best hope for peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. And we will continue to build capacity and opportunity in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and across the region, because lasting stability and security go hand in hand with greater economic opportunity.

In Afghanistan, “build” means supporting Afghans in laying the foundation for sustainable economic growth in the run-up to 2014, while also shifting from short-term stabilization projects to long-term development programs. In Pakistan, it means leveraging the resources provided by the landmark Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation to address major economic challenges that threaten Pakistan’s stability. And across the wider region, it means pursuing a broader, long-term vision for regional economic integration – a New Silk Road – that will lower trade barriers, create jobs, and reinforce political stability.

Our civilian efforts were never designed to solve all of Afghanistan’s development challenges or to completely turn around Pakistan’s economy. But they do aim to give Afghans and Pakistanis a stake in their countries’ futures and undercut the appeal of insurgency. This strategy is rooted in a lesson we have learned over and over again, all over the world – lasting stability and security go hand in hand with economic opportunity. People need a realistic hope for a better life, a job, and a chance to provide for their family. It recognizes the vital role of women and civil society in building more stable and prosperous countries – and in achieving lasting peace and reconciliation. And it puts accountability and transparency at the heart of all our efforts.

So, as our commanders on the ground will attest, it is critical to our broader strategy that civilian assistance continue in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Disengaging now would undermine our military and political efforts and the national security interests of the United States.

We know that there will be hard days ahead, but we believe that this strategy – fight, talk, build – offers the best way forward. As we proceed, the support and advice of Congress will be crucial. I look forward to continuing to work closely with members of both chambers and parties to ensure that our diplomats and development experts have the resources and support they need to advance our goals in Afghanistan and Pakistan and our national security around the world.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
November 2011

Review The Status Report: Afghanistan and Pakistan Civilian Engagement

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Testimony on Afghanistan and Pakistan


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Opening Remarks Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Washington, DC
October 27, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Madam Chairwoman, and to Ranking Member Berman and to the members of the committee, I appreciate this opportunity once again to appear before you.

I want to start by recognizing the concerns that many of you have about Afghanistan and Pakistan policy. You and the American people are right to ask questions, but I think it’s also important, as the Chairwoman alluded to in her opening statement, to recognize the significant results that our policy has already produced.

Usama bin Ladin and many of his top lieutenants are dead. The threat remains real and urgent, especially from al-Qaida’s affiliates. But the group’s senior leadership has been devastated and its ability to conduct operations greatly diminished. Many of our successes against al-Qaida would not have been possible without our presence in Afghanistan and close cooperation with Pakistan.

Now in Afghanistan, we still face a difficult fight, but coalition and Afghan forces have reversed the Taliban momentum in key areas. Afghan security forces have a long way to go, but they are taking more responsibility every day. And while the country still faces enormous challenges from poverty and corruption, our development efforts have bolstered the economy and improved lives.

You know the statistics. Ten years ago, fewer than a million students enrolled in Afghan schools, all of them boys; now more than 7 million, nearly 40 percent of them are girls. Afghans are better positioned to chart their own future.

I offer these very brief examples as a reminder that, as President Obama has said, we are meeting our commitments and we are making progress toward our goals. And we cannot let up. We should build on our momentum, not undercut our progress. Now I will be the first to admit that working with our Afghan and Pakistani partners is not always easy. But these relationships are advancing America’s national security interests, and walking away from them would undermine those interests.

With that as context, let me report I have just completed a productive visit to both countries. In Kabul and Islamabad, I emphasized our three-track strategy of fight, talk, and build, pursuing all three tracks at once, as they are mutually reinforcing. And the chance of success for all three are greatly increased by strong cooperation from the Afghan and Pakistani governments. Let me briefly discuss each track.

First, the fight. Coalition and Afghan forces have increased pressure on the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and other insurgents, including with a new operation in eastern Afghanistan launched in recent days. But our commanders on the ground are increasingly concerned, as they have been for some time, that we have to go after the safe havens across the border in Pakistan. Now, I will be quick to add that the Pakistanis also have reason to be concerned about attacks coming at them from across the border in Afghanistan.

So in Islamabad last week, General Dempsey, Director 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. We underscored to our Pakistani counterparts the urgency of the task at hand, and we had detailed and frank conversations about the concrete steps both sides need to take. I explained that trying to distinguish between so-called good terrorists and bad terrorists is ultimately self-defeating and dangerous. No one who targets innocent civilians of any nationality should be tolerated or protected.

Now, we are not suggesting that Pakistan sacrifice its own security; quite the opposite. We respect the sacrifices that Pakistan has already made. And it’s important for Americans to be reminded, over the past decade, more than 5,000 Pakistani soldiers have been lost, and tens of thousands Pakistani citizens have been killed or injured. That’s why we are pursuing a vision of shared security that benefits us all.

The second track is talking, and here too we are taking concrete steps with our partners. So in both Kabul and Islamabad, I reaffirmed America’s strong support for an inclusive Afghan-led peace process. And we have been very clear about the necessary outcomes of any negotiation. Insurgents must renounce violence, abandon al-Qaida, and abide by the laws and constitution of Afghanistan, including its protections for women and minorities. If insurgents cannot or will not meet those redlines, they will face continued and unrelenting assault. And I want to stress, as I did in Kabul, that the hard-won rights of women and all Afghans cannot be rolled back, and the growth of civil society must be not be quashed.

Now, there is no doubt that the murder of former President Rabbani was a setback, but the Afghans strongly believe reconciliation is still possible and we support that as the best hope for peace and stability in the region. Pakistan has a critical role to play and a big stake in the outcome, so we look to Pakistan to encourage the Taliban and other insurgents to participate in an Afghan peace process in good faith, both through unequivocal public statements and by closing off the safe havens.

We are working with the Afghan Government to help them secure commitments from all of their neighbors to respect Afghan sovereignty and territorial integrity and to support Afghan reconciliation. This will be a key focus when I go to Istanbul next week to meet with regional foreign ministers. For our part, the United States is working with the Afghan Government to conclude a new strategic partnership.

And let me add, in response to the Chairwoman’s question, in 2011 we had three Washington-led rounds of discussions, with the State Department leading an interagency team, including DOD, USAID, and the NSC. These discussions resulted in a text that is about 90 percent agreed to, including strong commitments on economic/social development, democratic institution-building, human rights, anti-corruption, and other important long-term reforms.

Among other things, we envision establishing an Afghanistan-United States bilateral commission and associated implementation mechanisms to help our focus remain on what needs to be done during the transition process. Ambassador Crocker and General Allen are still working through some of the security cooperation issues with President Karzai. The negotiation is ongoing, but I want to assure the Congress that although we do not expect this to take the form of a treaty or to require advice and consent of the Senate, we will consult with you on where we are in this process, and I will ensure that anyone who wishes to get a full briefing will get one, and we will very much welcome your views.

And in response to Congressman Chabot’s point, we anticipate having a transition that does include security components, not only from the United States, but also from NATO, commitments that were made at the Lisbon Summit. And again, we look forward to consulting with you on that.

And finally, the third track is building. Building what? Building capacity and opportunity in Afghanistan, Pakistan and across the region. Now, this is part of a clear-eyed strategy rooted in a lesson we have learned over and over again around the world – lasting stability and security go hand in hand with greater economic opportunity. People need a realistic hope for a better life, for a job, for a chance to provide for their families. So it is critical to our broader effort that civilian assistance continue in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and I thank Congressman Berman for raising that. Yet, I will also be very clear that we have had to move rapidly and deeply to strengthen oversight and improve effectiveness, and I’ll be happy to answer questions about that.

Early next week, I will be sending you a comprehensive status update on our civilian assistance detailing our plans to shift from short-term stabilization to long-term development.

Now as the transition proceeds and coalition combat forces leave Afghanistan, there need to be realistic hopes for development. So we are working to achieve greater agricultural productivity, greater exploitation in a way that benefits the Afghanistan people of natural resources, increasing exports, and strengthening the financial sector. I really want to underscore the point that Congressmen Berman made, which is really that we want to move from aid to trade. We cannot do that if we don’t get Reconstruction Opportunity Zone legislation, which will lower tariffs on Pakistani and Afghan products, and the Enterprise Fund, which will not require taxpayer dollars. This is what we did in Central and Eastern Europe, and it was a big help in convincing people that the free market was the way to go.

And finally, we are pursuing a broader, long-term vision for regional economic integration that we call the New Silk Road. It’s not just an economic plan. It talks about how we can get these countries that have so many problems with each other to begin cooperating. And to that end, I’m very pleased by the progress that both India and Pakistan are making on the commercial front and the progress in implementing the transit trade agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

So those are our three tracks – fight, talk, and build – and we’re on all of them simultaneously. We believe this is the best place that we can be in moving forward, and I look forward to answering your questions.

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Watch live now here at CSPAN as Mme. Secretary testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. CSPAN is repeating this at 8 p.m. EDT.

She also is gracing the cover of Time Magazine this week!  Details to come.  Here is the cover.

Thanks to my friend Rumana (who shared this with me)  we have a nice story about how Diana Walker got the shot yesterday morning on Hillary’s 64th birthday. This has a really nice slideshow in it!

Photo Essay

Thursday, October 27, 2011 | By Feifei Sun | 3 Comments

Behind the Cover: Diana Walker on Photographing Hillary Clinton

Diana Walker spent seven days in just as many countries with Hillary Clinton for this week’s cover story (available to subscribers here). But the cover image itself was taken in about five minutes, with just the light from a window, at Clinton’s desk at the State Department in Washington yesterday morning.

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Interview With Jackie Northam of National Public Radio


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ismaili Center
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
October 22, 2011

Please attribute the following content to an interview with National Public Radio

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, first of all, thank you very much for sitting down with us for this interview. I’d like to ask you first about your visit to Pakistan. You had a full court press of senior American officials there, and you yourself delivered some very strong statements, even warnings, to Pakistan’s leaders about what the U.S. is looking for as far as counterterrorism efforts go and reconciliation in Afghanistan and that. I want to find out that after your meetings with the Pakistan leadership, are you any more confident that they fully understand what the U.S. is looking for, whether they’re on board with that, and that the U.S. will receive Pakistan’s cooperation in these efforts?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Jackie, first the meetings we held were very comprehensive and represented a coordinated approach by our government, because I led a high-level delegation which met with our counterparts. We discussed our assessments of where things are right now, and shared information about what we’re seeing happening on the other side of the border in Afghanistan, because we admitted there are safe havens there from which Pakistan is attacked, which I believe it’s important to acknowledge. And I think they’re taking onboard everything we had to say. There was a positive tone to the conversations. And now we’re getting back with the details of how we can proceed together.

QUESTION: So at this point, is it a – do you just wait to see – you’re giving them a waiting a period to think about this, or where does it stand?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no, I think what we did which was so important was to reach an understanding that we are 90 to 95 percent in agreement, which sometimes gets lost in all of the back-and-forth and the rhetoric from politicians, press, and others. So let’s establish that base of agreement. Let’s then look at where we have disagreements, which are more disagreements in approach than in substance or outcome. For example, we had quite a good give-and-take about how you fight and talk, and how you do that. And General Petraeus was quite helpful in pointing out what had happened in Iraq. Although it’s not completely transferable, it’s instructive. So that’s the kind of level of conversations we were having, and I came away believing that we’ve cleared the air, we had set some clear parameters, and now we have to get about the hard work of actually operationalizing what our agreement is.

QUESTION: But again, do you wait to see if they – if – that you will receive their full cooperation? What is it – how will you know that you’ve gotten that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I want to clarify that we have been receiving their cooperation. I mean, if you look at the last several months since Usama bin Ladin’s death, and there was a lot of concern raised by the Pakistanis about their sovereignty, which we understand and we respect, but we also worked closely together to eliminate three of the top officials in al-Qaida who would’ve stepped into bin Ladin’s operational roles. So I think that it’s important to underscore that on al-Qaida, which remember has been our primary focus for 10 years, the Pakistanis have been very cooperative. Now we’re looking to expand our cooperation vis-à-vis the terrorist networks – the Taliban, Haqqani, and from their side the Pakistani Taliban – and also looking to figure out how to sequence a peace process that makes sense. And we’ve asked for their advice and their help in doing both of those.

QUESTION: I mean, you sound very confident. You sound pleased with every – how everything went. But when you walked into those meetings, you had a completely different tone, and I’m just wondering what happened in the meantime.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not sure that I did. I mean, I say – I said the same things in Afghanistan and Pakistan, that we expect action, we think action is in both of our interests, that we do have some time constraints because of our commitment to transition to Afghan security. So we need to accelerate the planning and working together on what are common objectives. I think what had been lost in the uproar over several of the controversies during the past year is that we do have common objectives, but we see it differently.

And I think it’s important for us to carefully listen to each other. So when I met, for example, with a group of parliamentarians, two of who are from the FATA and live every day with the threat posed by the extremists and have personally suffered, and their families, because of that. What they were saying is some of the way you talk about things isn’t helpful. As one of them said to me, when we hear from a Western official that you want the Pashtuns to give up their weapons, they will never give up their weapons. I said, well, yes, I come from a country where people won’t give up their weapons. He said what you need to be talking about is stopping the violence. And it – so, I mean, these are subtle things, but it gets people’s backs up. And then you run into problems that really are not of substance but of perception.

QUESTION: Mm-hmm. I understand that you do – you all have an abhorrence to terrorism and you want a stable Afghanistan and that type of thing, and that it’s the perspective from how you approach the situation and that. But we’ve watched over the years how even if you do have a different perspective, you do have a different approach, it doesn’t seem to be getting what the U.S. wants out of the Pakistanis.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I know that there is a lot of expectations, but I would ask all of us to take a bit of a step back. And I can speak directly about the last two and a half years. When I became Secretary of State, the Pakistani Government was not even taking on the Pakistani Taliban. They were quite uncertain about what to do. Do you have military action against them? Do you try to ignore them? They were going through a very difficult process of trying to understand what their best approach was. And then they took military action, and they began to clear territory, reclaim it.

And I think it’s important for Americans to recognize that there are different timetables that operate in different countries about how to move effectively. For the Pakistanis, it was moving troops off their border with India, which took a huge decision by their government, their military, but they began to do it. And they lost, as they always say, 30,000 people. And they look at us and they say don’t you understand how hard this is for us? And we say yes, we do, but let’s try to increase our cooperation because it’s also important for us that we move together. So I would only caution that despite the frustration and sometimes the disappointment, we have to be clear that Pakistan must be part of the solution. There is no alternative.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, we’ve got one quick question. (Inaudible.) I just want to ask you about Uzbekistan.


QUESTION: You’re heading out there —


QUESTION: — next and that. And obviously, I wonder if it’s – we’ve just heard from a State Department official that you want to broaden and deepen U.S. cooperation with Uzbekistan.


QUESTION: And I just – how critical is America’s relationship with that country now, given the situation with Pakistan? In other words, I’m thinking specifically of the supply routes, the Northern Distribution Network. Are you – what are you looking for when you go there from them?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we’re looking for a comprehensive engagement on all of the issues of concern to us, which we do with so many countries with whom we have agreements and very strong disagreements. There’s no doubt that our disagreements with the human rights record in Uzbekistan is profound, and we have personally, continually, including my visit last year, delivered that message. But we also think to achieve our goals in Afghanistan, the neighbors are important, and Uzbekistan is an important neighbor. And Uzbekistan worries about extremist Uzbek fighters who are based in Afghanistan and Pakistan, causing them a lot of internal problems. And therefore, they want to be part of working with us as we do our transition out, and I think that’s appropriate. So we balance this all the time.

And the Northern Distribution Network, which we have accelerated in developing because we did not want to be totally dependent upon a supply route through Pakistan into Afghanistan, is critical to our getting our troops withdrawing from Afghanistan on the timetable that the President has set forth.

QUESTION: Okay. I think your handlers are going to – (laughter). Okay. We’ve got that. Thank you so much.

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks before departing Islamabad

Meeting With Staff and Families of Embassy Islamabad


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Islamabad, Pakistan
October 21, 2011

Thank you. Thank you, thank you. Thank you. And it truly is a pleasure to be back here at Embassy Islamabad again. And I want to thank everyone, certainly Cameron and Marilyn for making me feel so welcome, being my hosts for the evening. And I want to thank also the deputy chief of mission as well.

There’s a lot of incredible energy at this mission, and that is in part due to your understanding and commitment, American and Pakistani alike, to the importance of this relationship. You understand you are working at the epicenter of American foreign policy, that you have important jobs to do, and that what you do has deep and wide-ranging consequences.

Now, I know that these past weeks have been especially challenging. Our two countries have hard work ahead of us to improve this relationship. But on behalf of President Obama and myself and our government, we are committed to making that happen.

I had excellent meetings with the leadership of Pakistan as well as civil society and media representatives, and I think there is a joint commitment to try to work through the difficulties that we have encountered. And we have to because we have critical shared priorities. This is not a question of “it would be nice, wouldn’t it?” This is clearly an imperative, that we face a wide range of difficulties, but also opportunities, together. Advancing the Afghan peace process; taking on the remnants of al-Qaida, the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, those require Pakistan’s active cooperation, and I think we had a very good set of discussions about what kind of work we need to be doing together.

We also have to continue the other essential work that you are doing, from providing flood relief to rebuilding bridges to making electricity accessible to distributing wheat and vegetable seeds and helping half a million farming families get back on their feet. Moving toward a stable self-sufficient Pakistan, governed by democratic and civilian-led institutions able to provide jobs and opportunities for the Pakistani people, is our shared goal. So I can’t thank you enough. And I extend that appreciation to the entire American team here, civilian and military, representatives not only of State and USAID but the multiplicity of agencies represented here.

And certainly, I want to say a special word of thanks to our Pakistani colleagues. I know that sometimes you and your families come under intense pressure because you work with us. I know that terror attacks have destabilized your communities and claimed thousands of innocent lives. And some of you have even been harassed simply because you work at our Embassy or our consulate. But I want you to know how grateful we are, and I also want you to know that we truly believe that you are in the forefront of forging a relationship between not only our two countries but our two peoples that is very much in the interests of both.


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Townterview with Moeed Pirzada of Pakistan TV


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Serena Hotel
Islamabad, Pakistan
October 21, 2011

MR. PIRZADA: As salaam alaikum. On your behalf, all of you the civil society members who are in this hall, and on behalf of the countless millions of Pakistanis who are watching this on live television, I extend a warm welcome to United States Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Secretary Clinton, without exaggeration, is a household name and face in Pakistan. And why not? She has invested significant tremendous political capital. She has been the principal architect of renewed U.S.-Pakistan relationship in the Obama Administration.

This is Secretary’s fourth visit to Pakistan after assuming office. During her second visit in July 2010, 15 months ago, I had the privilege, the opportunity to moderate a similar interaction with civil society and media. And the relationship between Pakistan and U.S. looked so good, it looked so smooth, so comfortable at that time that I was finding it difficult to coin a sentence to describe it. So while introducing her, I said, “Secretary, I’m sorry, I’m afraid you’re coming to a very boring Pakistan. There are no rumors, there are no conspiracy theories, there are no fears, no suspicions.” And she laughed wholeheartedly and she said, “Moeed, boring is good.” (Laughter.)

But, Secretary, I am afraid this is not true anymore. In the last nine months, the U.S. and Pakistan relationship has seen many difficult and tense moments. There has been a barrage of accusations, fears, suspicions, doubts. But fortunately, we have seen and the whole world has seen that in the last few weeks, the United States and Pakistan have reemerged from the difficult spot, from the difficult corner. It may not be completely, but it will not be unfair to characterize that the worst is over.

This is precisely how the Secretary Clinton is here today to reconcile (inaudible) relationship, and let me say a few words. The whole world has seen that the United States and Pakistan’s relationship may be complex, may be very difficult, may be very tiresome. But this is an enduring relationship that is based on mutual interest, mutual interdependence, and shared goals in the region. And this is precisely why today Secretary Clinton is standing here next to me.

Her biographer, Carl Bernstein, which I liked tremendous when I read her biography, had described her as mind-conservative and heart-liberal. Mind-conservative and heart-liberal. But I see her as an American politician, a reality politician, a realistic American politician who believes in the school of realism in American foreign policy, American diplomacy. Many people afraid when she talks tough. But I must tell you, that if she can talk tough in Islamabad, in Pakistan; she also has the ability to talk tough on behalf of Pakistan in Washington.

With these words, I invite the Secretary to speak. (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. Well, I am absolutely delighted to be here with all of you, and I thank you so much, Moeed, for your introduction and for once again taking on the responsibility of helping to moderate this interaction.

I think this is my eighth visit to Pakistan in 15 years. One very long and memorable visit in 1996, where I remember so clearly how easy it was to travel around Islamabad and Lahore. The memories of that visit, which I took with my daughter, are incredibly poignant and vivid in my memory. Three short visits as a senator and now my fourth visit as Secretary of State. And I am here because I believe the relationship between our two countries is so important, it is worth getting right. And I am certain it is possible, although it will take a great deal of work to do so.

It is easy to forget amidst all the noise that our goals overlap in critical ways. We share a vision of a sovereign, self-sufficient, and democratic Pakistan; a Pakistan at peace and trading with its neighbors and full of opportunities for both men and women. That is a vision that I carry with me as I do the work I currently do now as Secretary of State. We also share a threat that has claimed the lives of thousands of our citizens. And we believe strongly that is a challenge neither of us can walk away from.

So the question before us is not whether we should work together; the question is how. And as you just heard, it is no secret that our relationship of late has not been an easy one. We have seen distrust harden into resentment and public recrimination. We have seen common interest give way to mutual suspicion. Americans, who believe they have done a great deal over the last years, and in fact $2 billion in civilian aid has been delivered from American taxpayers to the people of Pakistan in the last year, are understandably frustrated when they see what comes across as anti-American sentiments. And many in our Congress ask whether this relationship is still worth investing in. And I know that many Pakistanis have questions of their own.

Like any successful partnership, this one needs to be a two-way street where each of us acts to secure our shared interests in an atmosphere of mutual respect and mutual understanding. I’d like to touch briefly on three issues in particular: our joint efforts to create opportunities for the people of Pakistan; Pakistan’s role today and tomorrow in the region; and our shared fight against violent extremism.

First, I want to be clear that the United States is committed to helping Pakistan meet the economic needs, the social development needs, of the Pakistani people. Now, we are not doing this out of some definition of charity, and we are not trying to purchase friendship. We actually believe that a prosperous, peaceful Pakistan is more likely to be a stable, secure Pakistan, and we think that is good for everyone, first and foremost Pakistanis, the region, and the world, including Americans.

And we have heard the desire from government officials and private business leaders and citizens alike to move from aid to trade, and we share that goal. So we are working with Congress to create an enterprise fund designed to jumpstart Pakistani businesses and a bilateral investment treaty designed to attract trade, investment, and create jobs. Our programs have been focused on building Pakistan’s capacity: helping you grow and make more reliable your electric grid; to build roads; to irrigate hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland; and fund scholarships. And when the flood waters rose, America rushed in to save lives, help communities recover, at the cost of about $900 million.

But that said, we understand completely that it is the Pakistani people yourselves who hold the key to your own prosperity. Only Pakistanis can remove barriers that stifle entrepreneurship. Only Pakistanis can take the tough political decisions to bring your energy crisis to heel. And only Pakistanis can make clear that when just 2 million people out of 190 million pay income taxes, that is just not a broad enough base to sustain serious investments in Pakistan’s needs.

Pakistan’s economic and political success also depends on closer links with your neighbors. And that is my second point: Pakistan’s critical role in this region. We believe that over time, Pakistan could and should become a hub that connects South and Central Asia on what we are calling a New Silk Road that binds together a region held back by rivalry and war.

Over time, India could become the largest market for Pakistan. Closer economic ties with Afghanistan could contribute to growth and stability on both sides of the border. We recognize that Pakistan has legitimate interests in Afghanistan, and Pakistan has the opportunity to show regional leadership by helping to end the insurgency on both sides of the border, and help bring about peace and reconciliation.

My third point is one we ignore only at our peril. For too long, violent extremists have been able to operate too freely here in Pakistan, and Pakistanis have paid a terrible price in the fight against terrorism. Nearly 30,000 Pakistanis have been killed or injured over the past 10 years – worshippers at mosques, shoppers at markets, soldiers, police, even children in their classrooms. And we recognize, too, that Pakistan’s military has been bravely fighting pockets of terror throughout your country.

But no policy that draws distinctions between so-called good terrorists and bad terrorists can provide long-term security. This year alone, more than 500 Pakistanis have been killed by improvised explosive devices made right here inside Pakistan. I believe the United States and Pakistan can work together to root out all of the extremists who threaten both of us, including the Haqqani Network.

Now, I was introduced by saying that I am a realist, and I know that every country decides for itself what is in that country’s own interests. Pakistan does. So does America. We could not, should not, expect any different. And it is no secret that our relationship today has challenges. But for all the reasons I have briefly mentioned, I would argue that our two nations have far more powerful common interests in improving our cooperation. And now we have to chart that pathway forward together.

And much like our relationship, I hope this town hall is a two-way street as well. I look forward to a good give-and-take, and to your questions, in the time we have together. And I thank you very much for the interest you are showing in our relationship by your presence here today. Thank you. (Applause.)

MR. PIRZADA: Will you clip yourself the mike?


MR. PIRZADA: I was told that you would do it yourself.

While the Secretary clips the mike, let me repeat, once again, when you ask the question, you must – I will ask the first question (inaudible). When you ask the question, you must identify yourself with your name and the institutional affiliation. There are two runners here – Azu here, Abdullah there. Try to ask your question or comment limit within a minute or so, so then the Secretary can respond. And then the mike will reach the next person. We’ll also try to take one question from left side and one question from right side, and try to have a gender balance in the questions.

Secretary, can I ask the first question?


MR. PIRZADA: Charity begins at home. My question, since I’m asking – (laughter). The view in Islamabad is that, whereas Pakistan is trying to achieve a broad-based reconciliation with all kind of insurgent groups, including the Haqqani Network, your Administration, the Obama Administration, is trying to pick and choose between one group or the other group, you’re not ready for broad reconciliation. What is your view on that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that our position now, having thought deeply about this, consulting with many friends, including Afghan and Pakistani, is that we want to work on a process that is open to those groups or elements within them that are willing to sit across the table, and discuss a way forward that is committed to peace and reconciliation. And with respect to Afghanistan, the groups must be willing to renounce violence, as you should in any political process; cut all ties with al-Qaida, which is something that is important to us; and state a willingness to abide by the laws and constitution of the state of Afghanistan, including protection for minority groups and women.

So our position is that we have been exploring different channels and different offerings. But given what just happened with professor, former President Rabbani in Afghanistan, where he believed he was meeting with an emissary from the Taliban to discuss this process and instead was murdered, we want to make it clear that all are invited and welcome to this process, but we have to, in effect, see the seriousness and sincerity of their willingness to be part of it.

MR. PIRZADA: Since you mentioned Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, since Professor

Burhanuddin Rabbani’s assassination, President Hamid Karzai has been saying Pakistan needs to bring the Taliban around for negotiation. What is your view? You expect Pakistan to militarily tackle the Haqqani Network? Will you expect Pakistan to force them to come to the negotiation table?

SECRETARY CLINTON: It’s more the latter. I’m well aware of the military challenges that the Pakistani military has faced and the great sacrifice, as I referenced, of soldiers and civilians. But we do believe, as does our Afghan partners, that this must be a tripartite process, that Pakistan has to be a full partner in this effort, because we think that Pakistan, for a variety of reasons, has the capacity to encourage, to push, to squeeze – in General Kayani’s term – terrorists, including the Haqqanis and the Afghan Taliban, to be willing to engage on the peace process. So that is what we’re looking for.

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you, Secretary. Let’s take the first question. The gentleman here.

QUESTION: Hi. My name is (inaudible), and I graduated from Lahore University of Management Sciences. I believe you’ve been there. I have a simple and small question: Is there any Blackwater, or currently known as Xe Security, presence in Pakistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, there’s no Blackwater, because they no longer exist. They’ve been disbanded, and certain functions have been purchased or merged into other organizations. Xe is still a private contracting group that does have some previous association with, through personnel, what was Blackwater. I cannot tell you, sitting here, whether they are or not a contractor here in Pakistan, but I will tell you that they are – that we use private security contractors to protect our embassies, to protect our diplomats, all over the world. So it wouldn’t be anything that would be unique to Pakistan.

The sad world in which we are living today, as we’ve just disrupted this plot against the Saudi ambassador in our own country, is that people who should be safe pursuing diplomacy anywhere in the world are now targets. So yes, we do protect them, and we protect our facilities, but I can’t tell you exactly who has the contract. But we do try, and we certainly have learned over the years, to have certain expectations and contractual obligations that we expect everyone who is working for the United States Government to abide by.

MR. PIRZADA: Yes. Let’s take the second question.

QUESTION: Yeah. My name is (inaudible). I am from (inaudible). I have some interactions with your Embassy public affairs office.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Sir, could you pick the microphone —



QUESTION: I have some interactions with your Embassy’s public affairs office, especially with the community engagement component of that office. And I must say it was great to work with them or understand their things.

I would like to ask one thing. What is the U.S. Government doing to help organic voices inside Pakistani society and community against violent extremism, to protect Pakistani citizens, army, and law enforcement personnel?

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you. Thank you (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: That’s an excellent question, and I thank you for your kind words about our Embassy and about our interactions with you. And I think your question leads to really a reference I want to make to civil society here in Pakistan and to our Embassy and our efforts out of the State Department.

We have, for many years, worked to support civil society in Pakistan. But I have reached the conclusion we must do even more, and we need guidance and direction and suggestions from civil society itself. If you look at the vibrancy of the Pakistani culture, there is so much interaction, and this is certainly not a shy society, as I have learned over the years. You have a very dynamic free press. You have a lot of people who are speaking out on all kinds of issues.

But I worry about the intimidation factor from the extremists. People should be able to express, in a democracy, competing views. And you may disagree and take that person to task, but it should not be the reason for murder. It should not be, as I tragically saw, the death of Governor Taseer and Minister Bhatti and others who have a right, as Pakistani citizens, to express their views. So if civil society gets intimidated and your space shrinks, the society suffers, not just the individuals.

So our ambassador, Ambassador Munter, and I were actually talking about this just yesterday, and we are going to be seeking advice from you about what more we can do to support civil society and differing points of view within your country.

MR. PIRZADA: Let me take a question here. Yes.

QUESTION: Good evening and welcome to Pakistan, Secretary Clinton. My name is (inaudible) and I’m an entrepreneur and a development activist. And like your fellow panelist over here, there are several interactions that I’ve been a part of, and the development work that the consulate and the Embassy is doing, it’s wonderful. And just like you, I get puzzled with the anti-American sentiments that some of us may harbor in the country.

Now my question to you, again, drawing from your comments about the critical role that Pakistan has in the region, the recent comments about the Af-Pak policy of the U.S. defines the three Ds – I’d like your comments on that – deterrence, development, and dialogue – because to a lot of us, these three Ds seem to be in contradiction with each other. How can there be dialogue if there’s deterrence, and how can there be development if there is deterrence? So I’d like your comments on that, please.

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you, (inaudible).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. I will certainly admit that much of what we see that needs to be done in the region may, at first, appear inherently contradictory. So for example, when we say that with respect to the terrorists and the peace process, we want to fight and talk simultaneously, well, that seems contradictory. But it has been our experience over many years that unfortunately, it is both simultaneously that will convince some to come to negotiations and will remove others who are totally opposed to peace and want to continue their violent attacks.

So with respect to our policies, yes, we feel strongly about development, but we are shifting our focus, as I said, from aid to trade. And the fact that you’re an entrepreneur is very encouraging because we want there to be more entrepreneurs, which means there has to be more market access, which means there has to be more trade, first in the region and then beyond.

And so I think that it may appear to be somewhat contradictory, but we live in a very complex world today, and therefore, we have to be very clear-eyed about all the different challenges we face and we have to work across them. And sometimes we will be promoting our defense relationship and supporting the need for deterrence of terrorist attacks while we’re trying to build up development so that there will not be fertile ground for terrorists and extremists to take root. So it may not be an easy concept, but it is how we see the many different pressures that we’re trying to respond to.

MR. PIRZADA: Secretary, in the last two days in a couple of talks here, you must have had some kind of discussion on the issue of fight – fight, talk, talk in Islamabad.


MR. PIRZADA: And the view over here is that it’s not really working. What is your view? Do you think this fight, fight, talk, talk simultaneously is giving you results?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t think that we’ve really gotten to the talk, talk phase yet. I believe that – and this is certainly my perspective – we’re only now at the talk, talk stage because there has been a reversal of Taliban momentum in Afghanistan. President Obama’s decision that he had to make upon taking office to increase our military presence in Afghanistan to reverse the momentum of the Taliban, I think, has laid the groundwork now to be able to see if there is anybody willing to talk.

And I have to be very candid with all of you. We’re not sure, that there may be no appetite for talking on the other side, that for ideological reasons or whatever other motivations, there may be no willingness. And there have been about 3,000 fighters inside Afghanistan who have left the battlefield and have been reintegrated into their villages and into Afghan society, but whether it gets beyond the foot soldier level up to the leadership level, that’s what we have to test now. So that’s what we are trying to urgently put forward.

MR. PIRZADA: There’s a question here, I think. There’s a lady who has a mike here. Yes.

QUESTION: Hello. I’m Tara Uzra Dawood. I’m a JD from Harvard Law School as well as president of the Dawood Global Foundation and LadiesFund.

The question I have is: Because we have awards for women entrepreneurs, networking opportunities and training for women entrepreneurs, we’ve indentified incredible talent in Pakistan, and those are the headlines I would like to see and we’d like to see internationally. Furthermore, with virtual businesses and technology, could you perhaps share your opinions and guide us how we can get Pakistani women or Pakistani entrepreneurs and American entrepreneurs working hand in hand in entrepreneurship rather than in isolation? Thank you.

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is music to my ears, because one of our principal programs in the State Department the last two-plus years has been to promote global entrepreneurship around the world, with an emphasis on women and with an emphasis on Muslim majority countries, because we think entrepreneurship, small business, medium-sized business development is key to economic growth and prosperity, and that parts of the world that have not been growing and providing inclusive prosperity over the last decade are now poised in part because of technology to do so.

Therefore, we have held entrepreneurship summits in Egypt, in Indonesia, in Washington. The next one is in Turkey. And we want to be sure – we’ve had Pakistani participants, and we want to be sure that the two messages of what it takes to promote entrepreneurship, because there are still legal and regulatory barriers. There are difficulties in many countries in starting businesses and growing businesses. We want to identify those, work with governments, work with business to try to eliminate them, and we also want to mentor. So we have websites, we have programs where we’re bringing entrepreneurs – in particular, women entrepreneurs – to work with counterparts.

So we want to do all of that, and we view Pakistan as a place with such potential. Pakistan is a country of small businesses, and there’s so much more that could be done and that can be linked to the global economy. And so therefore, we will redouble our efforts to reach out to Pakistani entrepreneurs and make sure that as many as possible are connected into what we’re doing globally.

MR. PIRZADA: I see more businessmen here on the third row.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary Clinton, my name is Ibrahim Qureshi. I’m founder of Raffles Computer, and a participant to the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship by President Obama. It was a great event. In the summit, there were four countries put in top priority list in terms of entrepreneurship development. It was namely Egypt, Palestine, Indonesia, and Pakistan. And one of my recent engagements in D.C., I was told that Pakistan is no more on that priority list of engagements in terms of entrepreneurship development. And my question is: What triggered that? Why Pakistan is not on that priority list of four countries anymore?

And secondly, I believe that – and I think that a lot of us believe here – that terrorism is financially motivated and not really justly motivated, and with the youth we have, if there are any serious efforts going on to really bring in development entrepreneurship in Pakistan like you’ve done in Egypt and in Palestine and in Indonesia. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I am not aware of what you have just told me, and I will certainly check into that, because our original planning, as you know, was for Pakistan to be one of our four priority countries. I obviously believe it should be, and so let me look into whether a decision has been taken that I’m not aware of, and see what we can do about it.

MR. PIRZADA: That’s a great thing. Here’s a question here on the first row.

QUESTION: Good afternoon. I’m (inaudible), and I’m a student at National University of Science and Technology. I want to ask: You already mentioned that you think that we have anti-American sentiment here. But how do you expect the people of Pakistan not to have anti-American sentiments when day in and day out we hear about drone attacks that kill more innocent people than militants? You yourself mentioned that we have had so many losses of innocent lives. How do you explain that?

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that I do not believe that there is any basis for your comment, but I will say this: There has been a lot of focus on doing what is necessary to protect Pakistan, to protect Afghanistan, and to protect Americans, which is important for both of our countries. And I think that the difficulties we face with the safe havens that I referenced is that very often they are embedded in areas where people are going about their daily business, and we try to make sure that, in working with the Pakistani military and intelligence services, that any person who has committed a terrorist act or is about to be committing a terrorist act can be intercepted. And there are many ways of doing that. And I do not believe – and I actually think it is one of the real successes of the relationship between our two countries.

MR. PIRZADA: Secretary, I want to pick on this question of the anti-Americanism in Pakistan, the United States being the hyper-power that shapes the world has influenced everywhere. And countries and people like Pakistan, which are at the receiving end of the American power because America has to pursue its regional influences, have a reaction towards it. What people in Pakistan, the serious analysts see, there is a rising tide of anti-Pakistanism in the United States. And I think the American media, the way it reports the events – for instance, the leaks by unnamed officials, sometimes from State Department and sometimes from CIA, sometimes from the Pentagon, they build up a picture as Pakistan being the enemy, the Pakistanis are the enemy. Recently after Mike Mullen’s comments, (inaudible) of The New York Times has published a story in International Herald Tribune which was inaccurate. The U.S. Embassy officials, many diplomats privately told me, and they were outraged themselves about how inaccurate the story was. She accused the Pakistani army of deliberately conspiring to kill the American soldiers in 2007, which was investigated by a U.S. military general in Islamabad and found that no one was really involved. It was a soldier that got berserk, a reactionary, as it happens in Afghanistan all the time.

So this is the growing fear in Pakistan, that when Pakistan is demonized, the public opinion changes, it puts pressure on Congress – both houses, the House and the Senate – which then put impediments in the relationship your Administration wants to help Pakistan. They restrict you. So you’re restricting your own way because of the demonization.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, but look, I think that we have the problem on both sides.

MR. PIRZADA: I agree.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that – I would respectfully say, I think that there’s been press articles on both sides that have been wildly inaccurate and wildly accusatory, to the detriment of the seriousness of what we are trying to do together. And I think, look, we both have democracies, we have people who are politicians who run for office who are responsive to public opinion. And so if the press and others are creating a public opinion attitude, then you’re going to have politicians responding to it, and then we’re into a vicious cycle.

Look, I’m here in part because I don’t think that’s useful. And we have real differences. We need to be sitting down and exploring those differences and trying to work through them together. And we do expect to find areas of cooperation that are mutually beneficial.

Now, I would hasten to add that in both countries, there is a lack of appreciation for the relationship that predates this Administration. It kind of comes and goes; it goes back and forth over time on both sides. But it’s not in anyone’s interest. I mean, we have real differences that we should respectfully discuss, but we have to get rid of all of the wild accusations and stories and incredible theories and conspiracies that afflict us. And therefore, I’m hoping by directly talking to the Pakistani people through this event and other events, we can clear away all of the chaff and let’s just focus on where we agree and where we don’t agree, as any two nations will, and look for ways that we can work together in the mutual respect and mutual interest that I seek.

MR. PIRZADA: Do you think something to be done to have better understanding to stop all this between the media accusations, the wild accusations?

SECRETARY CLINTON: When I became Secretary of State, I was told by our Embassy in Islamabad that they had just given up trying to respond to all the wild stories. There were so many every day and obviously, not just in the newspapers but in the – on the television and radio. And I urged them to keep trying to respond, don’t let accusations go unanswered when people make these outrageous claims, try to get in there and respond. But it is hard when you have a media. And of course, we have the same problems in our own country, with a vast media, now with the internet, where you can say anything about anybody without any verification. And so I think both of us in our democracies have to do more to try to clear the way for a factual basis for our conversation. We still may disagree, but at least let’s have a basis of evidence on which we discuss these matters.

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you. Let’s take a question from here. Who has the mike?

QUESTION: Hello there. My name is Afan Aziz and I’m the president of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industries. I’m also an ex-student of London School of Economics —

MR. PIRZADA: Can you bring the mike a little close?

QUESTION: My question was regarding a friend of, actually, the U.S. and a good friend of Pakistan, had launched a discussion regarding the reconstruction opportunity zones. You talked about trade being better than aid, and trade, not aid. This was exactly on those lines. And frankly speaking, to tell you the truth, this was one single factor that had been launched, and had it included Pakistan’s specific product that we could produce. This was one factor that could have changed the landscape of this place and would have helped you entirely in this war. To quote you a figure, because I belong to the field itself of textiles, if we had produced about $2- to $3 billion worth of apparel in (inaudible), which was very much possible and very easy task, we would’ve given employment to about 1 million people. And 1 million people with an average family size of six people would’ve affected 6 million people, which is one-third of the population of the province.

So – and this thing did not happen. Your predecessor started this discussion in 2006, and then this conversation kept on taking place, and now it seems like it is a dead horse. I want to convince you that this is something that really would change things around. I challenge the belief, number one, that people say that this would cause a loss in jobs in the U.S. It is completely incorrect because Pakistan is in the commodity business, and the textiles in the U.S. are technical textiles; they are value-added textiles. The only redistribution of jobs if ever is going to take place is from China, Bangladesh, or (inaudible). Pakistan today only export $1.5 billion, and we are minnows, because U.S. imports 72 billion. China exports 27 billion. Vietnam exports – just give me a moment, because I believe this is a very, very important point.

And secondly, I also challenge the belief that people say that this can’t be done in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. We have been a frontline state in the front line – of a frontline country. So you see, we have really suffered not over the last one decade but over the last three decades. We as – I’ll give you a figure to substantiate my point. We, as a percentage of the loan that was given out in Pakistan about 20 years ago, stood at 11 percent. Now these standards of population are at around 13 percent. Today, we stand at a paltry – at a paltry 1.7 percent. So you see of the entire loan that is disbursed. So there is no job creation in that area. And also, you see this something that needs to be targeted head on.

MR. PIRZADA: Afan, thank you.

QUESTION: So I would appreciate it if you could do something – (applause).

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I mean, you make a very strong argument, and there are many of us who agree that opening up our markets to your cotton, for example, would be a really big step forward in the economic growth of Pakistan, and also would have benefits in our relationship. We have a political system with different points of view. We have made the case – the prior administration plus this administration. It’s not the only issue that comes from the desire on the part of many of us to increase trade that doesn’t yet have a majority to pursue. But you’re not going to get an argument from me. It would be a very positive development.

And we believe strongly that the more we can move toward trade, the more you will have a sustainable base for economic growth. We do not think that much of the ongoing dispute over this, however, is Pakistan only. We have cotton problems with many countries, as I’m sure you’re aware.

So I can only reinforce your argument; it’s very sensible. And we want to see Pakistan grow so we’re making the case, trade not aid, and we’re trying to get the Congress to understand the importance of that.

MR. PIRZADA: Let’s take a question here.

QUESTION: My name is Shaddou (ph). I’m an entrepreneur. I was a part of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women this year. My question is, since I’m not a politician or any analyst, from a common person perception in Pakistan, what is U.S. exit policy from Afghanistan? Because we feel that since 9/11 military operations, we don’t see any kind of improvement in terms of peace in Pakistan. And we, being in Pakistan, in fact, suffering a lot more than Afghanistan because you have a military operation there but we don’t have here. So what could be the possibility of dialogue rather than the option of military?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that’s exactly what we are pursuing, and that’s why it’s so important that Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States all work together. And I was personally very encouraged to see the statement that came out of the All Parties Conference a few weeks ago. And the second item was give peace a chance.

MR. PIRZADA: Give peace a chance.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And that was a very important statement, because there needs to be an unequivocal signal sent by all of us that the fighters, the terrorists, the insurgents, now must give peace a chance. So your government, all of your political parties, have made that statement. The prime minister repeated it. Foreign Minister Khar repeated it today. And I hope that it is heard by many elements of these terrorist groups on both sides of the border, because that’s what we want.

We want the people who are willing to become peaceful, reconciled members of society on both sides of the border to hear that message. So we’re going to do the best we can. You can’t make somebody put down their gun unless you do so in a fight if they’re not willing to. But we want to give everyone a chance to give peace a chance in their own lives and in the border areas and the two countries.

MR. PIRZADA: The gentleman in the second row from the left. Also, if I could take the mike back first please. Go ahead please.

QUESTION: I am Azhar Saleem from Human Development Foundation. I think you’ve talked about various ways in which U.S. can help Pakistan. You’ve talked about entrepreneurship, talked about the ways through which U.S. can help us in trade. But I think the base of everything is education. And there is a lot that is needed in education, and not just at the level of primary education. I think we need to do something much bigger than that.

You talk of the Millennium Development Goals. They only talk of the primary level of education. I think we need much more, and that is education at all levels. I think we need to sit down and think of ways of how U.S. can help us in education. Because if education is made better in Pakistan, I think rest – everything will fall in place.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I agree with you completely, sir. I think that education is the base on which every modern economy and society must be based now, because there is just too much happening in the world and people will be left out. And you look at Pakistan; you have some of the most educated people in the world. I mean, it’s astonishing the quality, the extraordinary success of the elite education in Pakistan. But then you have a huge number of people, and particularly women, who are not educated. And we know that educating a woman is the best way of building a society, because that education is passed on. There’s so much evidence. A child will not read above the level of what his mother reads at unless there’s an extraordinary effort made to guide that child into education.

So if I had a magic wand, I would say education in Pakistan is absolutely necessary. Now, going back for a minute to our struggles with the terrorist groups, one of the things we see in Afghanistan – and President Karzai told me a story, a very poignant story, when I was in Kabul yesterday, that when he was recently in Kandahar and he met a little girl of about eight or nine, he said to her, “Well, are you in school?” And she said, “No, we cannot go to school,” because her family was intimidated by the Taliban and prevented from going to school. And the United States has helped to build dozens of schools, and the international community altogether has had to build hundreds of schools in Afghanistan, and many of them have been closed and many of them have been burned down because there are people who do not want to educate women here in our world today.

So let’s do what we can to make it socially unacceptable to deny boys or girls an education. And then let’s talk about how we can help support a system that begins to really deliver education, because that’s unfortunately missing in many parts of this region. And I would just end by saying that it is quite troubling that many young boys do not have access to good public schooling. They go to madrasas, which is fine, but very often they do not learn what they need to learn to go on to higher education, to go into a skilled trade, to be able to function effectively in a modern society.

So you’ve put your finger on one of the biggest problems, and certainly our Embassy will talk with you about what we can do. But much of it has to come internally. There has to be a demand by educated Pakistanis for all Pakistanis to be educated, and a particular movement to educate girls.

MR. PIRZADA: There’s a question here.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Foundation. In recent past I have been to U.S. to attend one of the IV programs sponsored by the U.S. State Department on equal rights. Here I have a question you already mentioned in your speech – that the response in flood 2010 was very clear from the U.S. and we’re thankful for that. But the response in recent flood from the U.S., that is slightly slow. So what are the reasons behind why the response is not comparatively slower than in recent? Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you know —

QUESTION: Many people ask this question.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. Well, I have to say that right now in our Congress we are totally tied up in our budget negotiations. There’s not much money going anywhere for anything. And I don’t say that with any satisfaction. It’s quite distressing to me.

Because at the time of the first disastrous flood, as I said, we contributed far more than anyone else. And we not only contributed for emergency relief but also for family income support, and we were very proud to do that. And now we are – we don’t have that flexibility in our budget any longer. And so we will do what we can, but I don’t want to sit here and tell you that we can do much more at this time.

MR. PIRZADA: Secretary, there’s a question from the last row on the left.

QUESTION: Thank you, Madam, for being here. Your presence here is an endorsement that you believe in this strategic and synergistic relationship. My name is Ayla Majid. I am an elected director on the board of Islamabad Stock Exchange and I’m also working with different entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial development efforts.

We do understand that we do have challenges, we do have difficulties. I don’t need to reiterate that because we are very much on the same page. I can assure you on behalf of this very generation that we are practical people and we are very much wanting to work on this relationship. We have our odds, but we will have a working relationship when we both are looking forward in the same direction. So let’s continue to do that.

You mentioned about opening up of our borders for trade. So I would very much like your endorsement on this one to work with our policy makers. Because on behalf of private sector we are very open to these initiatives, and I would encourage the U.S. Government that whereas the G-to-G relation is important, it should be more G-to-B and B-to-B as well, and also work more with different entrepreneurs and young people of Pakistan. And we are very much hopeful to have the next entrepreneurial summit very much in Pakistan. Thank you.

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. (Applause.)

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, from my view – (applause) – the strategic dialogue which you initiated yourself which was taking shape the last time we met in October, then because of the tensions in U.S.-Pakistan relationship after January, the strategic relationship was kind of suspended. Are we expecting its full-fledged resumption anytime soon now?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. In fact, we agreed to a work plan between Minister Khar and myself this morning at our bilateral meeting, and we will be doing a complete analysis of where we made progress, what more needs to be done, and we’ve asked our teams to put that on a very fast track, because I will be in Istanbul for the regional meeting about Afghanistan. I know that Minister Khar, President Zardari will be there as well. So we hope to be able to get a report so we can start moving forward again.

QUESTION: What are you expecting, since you mentioned the conference? What outcomes are you expecting from Istanbul conference?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that’s still a work in progress. There’s a lot of discussions and drafting of documents going on. I think that a commitment to the security of Afghanistan that is agreed to by all of the neighbors, because clearly, Afghanistan has long been used as a crossroads for competition and conflict – we want it to become a crossroads for economic development.

We want – for example, one of our projects, which we hope to get international support behind in the New Silk Road vision, is a pipeline that would carry natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, through Pakistan into India. Imagine what that would do for electricity and for other power needs in the region. We want to look to see how we break down all of the barriers at the borders, and the young woman who was speaking about more trade all the time with everybody – there – if you look at the location of Pakistan between Iran and India, more goods in western Iran and eastern India should be going through Pakistan’s ports.

I mean, you think about just the geographic advantage that Pakistan has – and I’ve never been in Pakistan that a Pakistani businessperson has not said to me, “Talk to our government about opening up trade with India.” And I always say, “Talk to your own government about opening up trade with India,” because clearly – (applause) – what we now see happening with the good contacts between the two governments now – between the commerce secretaries, between the foreign ministries, even looking at most favored nation status – will be hugely beneficial to Pakistan. So I’m hoping that we’re at the brink of seeing a lot of positive developments in that area.

MR. PIRZADA: I assume that your staff is getting desperate for time so let’s take one or two quick questions. I know that you have pressure on your time.


QUESTION: My name is Mohammed Esfarosen (ph). I’m the general secretary of Pakistan-U.S. (inaudible) Association, (inaudible) chapter. And the trust deficit is the real challenge for the – both governments. And for me, 9/11 incident, the tragic incident of 9/11, lasted in U.S. for one day only. But since last 10 years, we the Pakistanis are paying the price of this incident despite your best efforts, despite your huge investments in the development sector. This trust deficit is rising day by day. A common Pakistani is not ready to digest the efforts done by the Americans. This crisis of trust is the real challenge for the – both the governments. What is your input on this?

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you. Would you suggest we take another question from here to wind it up?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Sure, and then I’ll —

MR. PIRZADA: Yeah, let’s take another question quick. What’s the last – yeah, please go ahead.

QUESTION: My name is Shamama (ph). I’m representing the women chamber of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. My question really more focused about my own province, of course. We all know that all of Pakistan is facing the brunt of whatever is happening and trying to cooperate with the U.S. And somehow, U.S. is like – is a mother-in-law which is just not satisfied with us and comes up with new ideas. (Laughter and applause.) So we are trying to please you, and every time you come and visit us, you have a new idea, so you tell us, “You’re not doing enough and you need to work harder,” and all. (Laughter.)

But I guess while Pakistan – the economy has taken a nosedive, but especially (inaudible) has suffered a lot. Our businesses have suffered a lot. So do you have – I would not call ROZ a failure right now, but yet it has not done what it was required to do. So do you have any backup plan or any other economic plan as a compensation to this part of the country?


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, now that I am a mother-in-law – (laughter) – I totally understand what you’re saying, and will hope to do better privately and publicly. I think that’s a great analogy I’ve never heard before.

I think the two questions are very much related, and yes, we agree that there has been and is a trust deficit. We talk about it with our counterparts. It is something we are trying to overcome. We think it goes both directions. We don’t think it’s just one or the other. We think that both of us have to work harder to understand more clearly the needs and the interests and the concerns of the other side, and I take that very seriously.

And it goes to this question about the price that Pakistan has paid, which I know is a very high one, not only in lost lives, but in lost economic productivity. One of the programs we’re still hoping for is the reconstruction opportunity zones, the so-called ROZs, which would target areas that have been particularly hard hit and try to provide more market access and entice investors – Pakistani, American, others – to come into those zones because of the preferential treatment they would get into the American market. And we’re still hoping to get Congress to agree to that.

So we do have some Plan Bs, but our Plan A is to overcome the trust deficit, but to be honest about it – not to pretend; to have a very clear-eyed view of where we agree and disagree; and then to have a work plan and to try to make progress together toward shared objectives. And I think that requires a lot of dialogue and a lot of work between us, which we have to be committed to. And there is frustration on both sides, which I recognize, but I personally believe this relationship is critical, important to us both, and therefore we cannot give it up.

And once a mother-in-law, always a mother-in-law, but perhaps mother-in-laws can learn new ways also. And I don’t know what the proper other side of the analogy is, but I think there has to be that kind of give and take. And we need your ideas and we want to listen to you and we respectfully request you listen to us. And therefore, we are going to stay the course and do everything we can to try to overcome the difficulties that we have faced together, because we both have too much at stake. We cannot walk away. We have to stay committed.

MR. PIRZADA: Secretary, with your kind permission, this last question, Wahaj, the CEO for the Nayatel. This stop – we also – on time, I must – I’m being warned.

QUESTION: Thank you very much. I am Wahaj us Siraj. I am founder of a company, fiber-to-home company which is – which has provided direct employment to about 500 very talented Pakistani people.

My question is that this talk on war on terror and the Taliban and Haqqani group is great, but the number-one problem of 180 million Pakistani today is the corruption and the mismanagement of the government which is leading to the hyperinflation, loss of electricity and the gas, and the basic facilities to the common people. And the people believe that this does not require from the U.S. side to invest in $1 million in asking the government to make itself correct, efficient, and corruption-free. What the United States is doing towards that? (Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: On these issues that you mentioned, particularly energy, which is the number-one concern – every time I see a poll of Pakistanis from all over the country, that is the number-one concern. And education and health and all the rest are right up there.

We have been consulting with and advising the government for the last two and a half years, and we are also investing in trying to put on line a thousand more megawatts of power, through American investment and American expertise. But we recognize, like you do, that ultimately, in any country, it’s the people themselves through their elected representatives who have to make the hard decisions. And there are hard decisions that have to be made in Pakistan.

I said earlier at my press conference that in a country of 180 million people, 2 million people pay income tax. That is just unbelievable because you can’t possibly deal with your electricity problems, deal with your education problems, or any other problem if you don’t have everybody in the society contributing the resources needed to fix the electric grid, to do all the things that are necessary. So you will certainly find a receptive audience in us because we want to see a lot of reforms on both the political and the economic side in Pakistan because we think it’s good for the Pakistani people.

But we don’t have a vote in Pakistan and we certainly don’t have a seat in the parliament, just like you don’t have a vote or a seat in our Congress. And so we have a lot of political problems in our own system right now, so I would not begin to advise you about your politics. We have to deal with our own politics. But the fact is that continuing a reform effort will be very important for your future.

MR. PIRZADA: Secretary, I’m so glad that you could take out time and sit with us to share for almost an hour. The time is almost over. We can’t. You heard these people, the whole of Pakistan. The time is almost over. We can’t —

QUESTION: (Inaudible), I know the time is almost end, but I’m from Balochistan and I think my question is very important. I’m (inaudible), working with USAID-assisted agricultural development project in (inaudible) area. So due to time constraints, my question is that we have a lot of projects which is assisted by USAID, but you know we have short-term project. Do you think – can U.S. Government help us for long-term projects, like 10 to 15 years, to bring a positive change in Balochistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as you might remember, the Administration supported, and the Congress passed, the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act nearly two years ago now. And it was to have a long-term commitment to Pakistan, and that is what we want to have. We are reviewing our aid programs now – that’s part of our work plan with your government – to try to figure out how we can invest in longer-term projects. So I would invite you to be sure to make your views known to USAID, to our Embassy, so that we can have the benefit of your suggestions.

MR. PIRZADA: Secretary, I’m so glad that you could outline, and you heard all these people, and thanks for the expanded media in Pakistan. All television channels showed it live across the country, so countless millions have seen and heard your message.

My one question to you last on behalf of all of these is: Would you be able to carry this voice in U.S. Congress?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I intend to try. I am one voice of many voices, but my voice will certainly be heard. And what I have tried to do – and I appreciate what you said, Moeed, at the very beginning – I have tried to be a good friend and an honest friend. So you may not always – (applause) – you may not always agree with what I say. But it is in the spirit of trying to make sure that we stay on a path together, which I think is very much in both of our interests.

So I will be appearing before the Congress, I think, next week. I’m sure they will have a lot to say to me, and I will do my —

MR. PIRZADA: “(Inaudible) talking?” (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I’m sure, but I will do my best to make the case very clearly as to why we must continue to work together in both of our mutual interests. And I am one voice of many, but it is certainly my intention to be as strong a voice as possible.

MR. PIRZADA: Secretary, thank you so much.


MR. PIRZADA: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much. (Applause.)

How many townterviews did you DO, Mme. Secretary? *Awestruck*

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At the moment, there is no video available of this roundtable.  Mme. Secretary has done this type of event in Pakistan on earlier visits.  It is very courageous of her to go alone in front of cameras and multiple experienced interviewers.  There are few who could handle this with such grace in a region where our intentions are regularly questioned.  The reason she functions superbly in this arena is her depth of knowledge and understanding of the issues down to small details and her consistency of message.  She comprehends how seemingly unrelated situations in fact have covert impact on each other and clarifies how solutions to one problem can, as a side effect, solve others.  That is a special gift she possesses, and it serves us well.  Until the video is released, I will leave this picture of a phenomenal stateswoman here.

Television Roundtable With Dawn, ARY, AAJ, Dunya, Geo, Express, and Pakistan TV


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Serena Hotel
Islamabad, Pakistan
October 21, 2011

MODERATOR: A very warm welcome to Pakistan, Secretary Clinton. It’s good to have you with us again. You come at a time which is very important for this crucial relationship; troubled times, if you may say. And you’ve had lots of meetings in the last few hours. We hope to get a lot of news out of you during this session. But we do hope that you’ve been able to untie some hard knots. And we’re looking forward to a candid discussion this afternoon.

Let me start by introducing my colleagues. Let’s start on the left. This is Mr. Hamid Mir, anchor person and executive editor from Geo News. His is the longest running show in Pakistan television, Capital Talk. We have Munizae Jhangir. You know her already. She’s an anchor person from Express News. Then we have Arshad Sharif. He’s the bureau chief with the DawnNews. Then on our right is Mazhar Abbas, director ARY, director news. And we have Nadeem Malik. He’s an anchor person and directs the program Aaj News. And then we have Anwar ul Hasan, senior anchor person from PTV. And I am Nasim Zehra, director of current affairs, Dunya News.

So let me start first. I was reading just a few days ago an article that you wrote in Foreign Policy magazine, “America’s Pacific Century,” and it was interesting you had put down the names of your partner countries. There was Mongolia, there was Brunei, there was China, India, and other countries. Pakistan was unmentioned there. You had another category; you had bracketed Pakistan with Iran, with North Korea, and Afghanistan as challenges. So that kind of raises questions about United States strategic intent towards Pakistan.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think it’s fair to say, Nasim, that there – you are both a partner and a challenge. And I think that is true for many countries; China, for example, would be in that category as well. The challenges, unfortunately, sometimes overwhelm the partnership and the opportunities. And so this is a relationship that we are constantly tending to and working on. And certainly the challenges that we face on trying to end the conflict in Afghanistan is one that we both have to address. So it is a strategic objective, it’s a very important partnership, but the challenge part of it, if you look at the balance, is now somewhat higher until we can work our way through how to get back on a trajectory where we’re focused on Pakistan’s economic growth, its social development, and not on the difficulties posed by the terrorist threat.

MODERATOR: So it wasn’t an omission in that article?


MODERATOR: This is the state of affairs right now.

Hamid, over to you.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, you said in Kabul that talks are still possible with Taliban. And recently on October 5th, Wall Street Journal claimed that U.S. officials tried to establish contact with the Haqqani Network and even met them secretly somewhere. So many people in Pakistan, they raise this question, that on one side United States is trying establish contacts with the Haqqani Network, you want to talk with the Haqqani Network, but you want Pakistan to take action against them. And these people who raise questions, they also say that, “Look, the Americans have a different policy for Taliban and Haqqani Network in Afghanistan and a different policy in Pakistan.” Why Pakistan and U.S. cannot adopt a joint strategy for talks with Taliban and Haqqani Network?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think this is a really important question, and I thank you for raising it because, in fact, we do not see any contradiction. In fact, the Pakistani Government officials helped to facilitate such a meeting. And we want more coordination between the United States, Pakistan, and Afghanistan for what must be, with respect to the conflict in Afghanistan, an Afghan-led effort. But Afghanistan cannot do it without both Pakistan and the United States. We believe that there is now an opportunity for us to begin talking, but there is no guarantee that the talking will result in anything that will move us toward a peaceful resolution. So as we discussed in my meetings over the last day, we’re going to continue fighting where necessary to protect our interests and so are the Pakistani military, because you cannot allow terrorists to gain ground and to be, unfortunately, inflicting attacks on people.

But we also are open to talking, and we have reached out to the Taliban, we have reached out to the Haqqani Network, to test their willingness and their sincerity. And we are now working among us – Afghanistan and Pakistan and the United States – to try to put together a process that would sequence us toward an actual negotiation. I hasten to say that in my discussions with Pakistani officials, they hold the same view that we do. We don’t know whether this will work, but we believe strongly we must try it. And as General Petraeus has explained, his experience in Iraq – and this is not Iraq, but just from a certain perspective – he both fought and talked at the same time to create an atmosphere that diminished and eventually ended what had become a civil war. And so we see no contradiction. We want to see more talking than fighting, but in order to get to the talking, we have to keep fighting.


QUESTION: A very warm welcome to Pakistan.


QUESTION: My question to you is when you talk about talking to the Haqqani Network, you said you opened some negotiations with them. At the same time, Pakistan is very clear on their position with the Haqqani Network. The Pakistani position is that they will act against the Haqqani Network in their own time, and there seems to be – in no hurry to do so. Now, has the Americans – have you accepted that position of the Pakistani Government that they may not be able to act against them?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s important to define “act,” because we understand that military action is a very difficult decision to undertake. So what we have discussed are other forms of acting, because there are ways through our mutual cooperation. We can share intelligence to make sure that real-time intelligence is pointing the way toward interdicting potential Haqqani attacks. On the other side of the border, we are running a concerted military effort against the Haqqani Network that has taken up positions inside Afghanistan, and our military leadership has shared that with your military leadership. So to cooperate so that we know when people are crossing the border is key, to cooperate so that, as we go after the Haqqani inside Afghanistan, your position to prevent them from coming back into safe havens here, to learn as much as we can, because we’re not in any kind of negotiations.

We had one preliminary meeting to essentially just see if they would show up for even a preliminary meeting, for us to not only share intelligence, but to do everything we can to disrupt their activities. And for example, here is an area where we want greater cooperation between us, and that’s with respect to these improvised explosive devices. The Haqqani Network drove a truck packed with a thousand pounds of explosives into our – one of our forward operating bases. Seventy-seven of our soldiers were injured; thankfully, none were killed because our barriers held. This is a problem for every civilized country dealing with these IEDs.

And so we’re now looking at how we have shared information to help the Pakistani Government deal with the ingredients that go into these IEDs, because we face the same problem in the United States. The first time this became an issue for us was at the Oklahoma City bombing, where a big explosion killed several hundred people, and we realized it was common fertilizer being used. And so we had to take action, which took several years, and so we’re sharing that with the Pakistani Government. So action, it takes many different forms, and it’s not just a call for military action.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, you are credited for being the chief strategist for a second American president. Now, 2012 is again reelection time or election time for the American presidency. Isn’t it right to say that you are looking for the scapegoats where the blame for failure in Afghanistan can be put on Pakistan? And what we are hearing is the, oh, last few years since 2001, the same things coming from the American officials about engagement, they talk about fighting the militants, the Taliban, and in the same conditions holding — initially there was talk that we won’t talk to Taliban, and then that (inaudible). Isn’t it an admission of defeat, or are you looking for new scapegoats?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No. It is neither. And yet I know there are many in Pakistan, and I thank you for raising the issue, because I’d like to address it. We are not looking for scapegoats. We are not looking to place blame. We are looking for the kind of realistic, cooperative relationship that we think is in the best interests of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States. We’ve had a lot of cooperation over the past ten years. Remember, our primary objective was going after al-Qaida. If the Taliban had given up Usama bin Ladin in 2001, when the request was made, history might have been different. But instead, the Taliban sheltered him and continued to work with and support al-Qaida.

Our goal was to go after those who had attacked us. And with Pakistani cooperation and a lot of hard work, we have broken up the core al-Qaida group. However, in the past ten years, what we’ve seen is a syndicate of terrorist groups that have taken root, not only in this region of the world, others as well. So we’ve had to adjust our tactics, and to some extent, look for new ways of being effective. We think we are now at a point where the potential for talking exists, and it took a while to get there, and I give credit to President Obama’s strategy of increasing our military presence in Afghanistan to reverse the momentum of the Taliban, to make it clear to them, at least some of them, that they had a future in Afghanistan if they were willing to abide by the constitution, renounce violence, renounce al-Qaida, et cetera.

So, no, we know how hard this is. This is a challenge to both of us, and I think it’s important to recognize that we want to deepen and broaden our cooperation, because we see the very damaging effect of this kind of ideology mixed with the violence in your country, in Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

MODERATOR: True of something we understand ourselves. It’s interesting that you think that the Taliban have been put on the back for there’s been a reversal. I’ll come back to that, but Mazhar, your question.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, Pakistan and the U.S. have been strategic partners, and you yourself have said that we have shared a lot of things. What led the U.S. Administration not to share May 2nd operation, and you acted unilaterally without realizing that it’s an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have to be very honest with you. We considered this to be such an important operation vital to our national security that we did not share information even in our own government beyond a very small group of people, and that was for the obvious reasons that this was such a sensitive operation. We had been searching for bin Ladin for a decade. We could not afford to lose him again the way we lost him at Tora Bora, and therefore, we took action that was as limited in scope as possible, aimed solely at the people in that compound with the intention of either capturing, or if he resisted, killing bin Ladin.

We recognized that, of course, it was going to happen on the territory of Pakistan, and we immediately called Pakistani leadership to express to them what we had done and why we thought it was so vitally important. And we don’t see it as the kind of ongoing action against Pakistan that should give rise to any ongoing suspicion, distrust, or problems. But we do know that it was viewed that way by many in Pakistan. But this is an area that we have worked through and talked very candidly about with our counterparts, and we are back to cooperating on the mutual dangers and threats we both face.

MODERATOR: Yeah. Certainly one of the most difficult periods in Pakistan-U.S. relations was the May 2nd – the fallout of that.

Yes, Nasim.

QUESTION: Yesterday, you made a very strong statement that, “We are going to seek you in your safe havens on this side of the border or on the other side of the border.” Then there was reporting in U.S. media today that Secretary Clinton has given a very strong message to Pakistani authorities that if you fail to act we’ll act on a unilateral basis. I will combine this statement with one other news item, which appeared two weeks ago. It was related to a meeting in Washington chaired by President Obama regarding national security, where several options regarding not (inaudible) but considered including sending ground troops to Pakistan (inaudible). I want to ask you two specific things here: unilateral action and sending ground troops. Is it an option for United States against Pakistan?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Let me say with respect to the ground troops, that may have been raised, but it was not at all considered.

QUESTION: But it was raised.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, everything is raised in a meeting with people sitting around a table, and that has – that reflects the worry and the frustration for this reason. I was just at our Embassy in Kabul. The Haqqani Network bombarded our Embassy for many hours. We were very fortunate that no Americans lost their lives, although some Afghans waiting for visas were unfortunately killed. And I’m the Secretary of State. I’m responsible for the lives and the well-being of the people who are our diplomats and our American employees and our local employees in embassies across the globe. I just want you to put yourself in our position. We have been warning about the Haqqanis, we’ve been warning about safe havens, we have presented information and evidence, we have shared intelligence.

Suppose they had gotten lucky. Suppose that car bomb had killed 77 American soldiers or suppose a car bomb or an effective barrage of assault weapons had killed Americans. Put yourself in the position that suppose that had happened to the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul or some other place. We don’t want to act unilaterally. We want to act in concert with our friends, our partners, our strategic allies in Pakistan, but we don’t want there to be any misunderstanding that we have to act, otherwise there will be perhaps an incident in the future that takes it out of the hands of any president. We don’t want to get to that, and it’s something that we are doing everything we can to avoid.

So when we talk about actions, as I was just talking to Munizae about, we talk about specific things we can do together. But a lot of it depends upon cooperation with our Pakistani counterpart. We think that is far better than having some disaster happen that requires some kind of response, which we are not at all interested in getting to. We want to avoid that.

MODERATOR: So are we saying you are ruling out boots on the ground?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. That has never been a serious consideration.

MODERATOR: So we will not have boots on the ground?


QUESTION: There will be nothing (inaudible) —

SECRETARY CLINTON: No. I can’t speak for all the millions of people who work for the United States Government, just as you can’t speak for everybody who works for the Pakistani Government.

QUESTION: Yeah. That’s right. So it’s good to know it’s not —


QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, from a common man’s perspective, I am asking this question that the recent trend we are witnessing of very rocky U.S.-Pakistan relations based on strong contradictory and conflicting statements coming from U.S. vis-a-vis Pakistan going toward this terrorism, which has been at least 10 years on this objective. Like, on the one hand, Pakistan has always appreciated that it acted as a frontline state, a strategic ally; but on the other hand, we see that Pakistan is always blamed for working (inaudible) supporting the terrorists, for harboring safe havens in our areas. Don’t you think that sort of provocative relationship, it adds to the trust deficit which already exists between the governments, but it also augments the anti-U.S. sentiment which is very much prevalent in our society?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I very much regret that, but I think your statement is accurate. I think there is a trust deficit. And certainly, I know there is growing anti-Americanism and, frankly, growing anti-Pakistani feelings in my country. And I don’t think that’s particularly productive and I don’t think it’s merited.

Do we have differences? Yes. Do we get frustrated with each other? Yes. There is no doubt about that. If we were not friends and not partners and, yes, not strategic allies, we would both just walk away, and we wouldn’t even have the relationship. But it goes back to the mother-in-law idea. We’re in this together. (Laughter.)

MODERATOR: You don’t want to be the mother-in-law in this case?

SECRETARY CLINTON: But the fact is that we know we each have more work to do to deal with this trust deficit. And we think there have been a lot of positive changes and developments in our relationship. But we also face a sense of urgency about this terrorist threat, and we do get concerned because we see it, first and foremost, as a threat to you and to Afghanistan, but then to us and others.

And we sometimes feel as though, because it’s happening up in the border areas, which is a long way from Islamabad and a long way from Lahore and a long way from Karachi, that it’s not taken all that seriously by many Pakistanis. And many Pakistanis wonder why are we so obsessed with this. Something is happening up there, but I have to worry about whether my electricity is on and my kid goes to school and all the things of everyday life.

And we believe that in today’s world you cannot let these terrorists get a foothold anywhere, because they are uncontrollable and they create consequences for countries and the people who live in those countries. Therefore, we are seeking a greater sense of urgency in addressing this and trying to communicate not only with your government but with the people of Pakistan so you don’t think we’re out there just fomenting, that we really see it from a clear perspective.

We’ve had experience in Colombia, where terrorists took up space and pretty soon were controlling 40 percent of the country because initially the government said, well, that’s not in Bogota, that’s far away. And then we spent 10 years and billions of dollars helping the Colombians dislodge the terrorists.

So we have a broader global perspective and we know that these groups can start wars. Suppose they go attack in India again. And I’ve been told by Prime Minister Singh he doesn’t – he wants a positive relationship with Pakistan. If they kill a bunch of people and the signature is somebody in Pakistan did it, it’s going to be very hard to control that reaction.

So I’m only saying this because I want the people of Pakistan to understand we are not making this up, we are not scapegoating, we are not blaming. We are trying to convey a sense of urgency about what could happen inside your own country.

MODERATOR: Yes, I guess, Secretary Clinton, the ball is back in my court. Indeed, what you’re saying is true, but the fact is it’s still distant from where you live. It’s on a day-to-day basis. Every Pakistani I think feels strongly about terrorism, but I think we have just different ways of approaching the issue.

Now you’ve had very important meetings with an important team over the last one day. Tell us something about any forward process that has taken place. Tell us that there’ve been some breakthroughs. Tell us that there is better understanding.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I can tell you all of that, Nasim. I can.

MODERATOR: Please tell us.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I can tell you that I think we’ve done a lot to clear the air. I think that our cooperative relationships between our military, between our intelligence agencies, are back on an upward trajectory. I can tell you that our government-to-government relationship is also very focused in a practical way on outcomes. So Foreign Minister Khar and I have directed our teams to take all the work we’ve been doing in our Strategic Dialogue and put together a work plan, because we got, as you say, diverted over the last months, and we want to get back to business.

We want to look at what we’re doing to help on energy. We’re going to – our technical assistance and financial help is going to add a thousand megawatts of energy to Pakistan to help deal with your electricity shortages shortly. We’re working on water. We’re working on all kinds of issues that are not our priorities; they’re your priorities. And we want to get back to doing them.

But we also have agreed we want as part of that work plan to look at how we sequence a peace and reconciliation process.

MODERATOR: Are we on the same page on that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I will quote General Kayani: We’re 90 to 95 percent on the same page.

MODERATOR: This happened in the last —


MODERATOR: — in the last —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes. In the meetings that we’ve had, we’ve shared information with each other, we’ve looked at the problems that we both face. Ninety to 95 percent. So now what we want to do is figure out where we might have some differences. And they may or may not be reconcilable, but let’s look at what we can do on the 90 to 95 percent. How do we put together a credible process, Afghan-led, which we both agree on, where both the United States and Pakistan can help bring to the table those Taliban, those Haqqani, who are willing to talk? And until we try it, I cannot sit here and predict to you whether it’s going to amount to anything at all.

MODERATOR: But we’ve passed the deadlock?



QUESTION: Yes. Today you appreciated the All Parties Conference statement, the APC statement.


QUESTION: Which was held recently in Istanbul.


QUESTION: That APC statement also rejected the allegations which were made on the Pakistani security forces and the intelligence (inaudible), like Admiral Mullen accused ISI for supporting Taliban. He said that the ISI supported Taliban in the attack which was made on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. That is a very serious accusation, and many Pakistanis are concerned about that. Would you like to share any evidence? Do you have any evidence against ISI?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that I think that Admiral Mullen’s entire statement should be looked at. It is, yes, clear, unfortunately, that a certain element was pulled out and made very confrontational, inflammatory. And I think we have done a thorough vetting and discussed these matters with the respective Pakistani authorities.

Now, every intelligence agency has contacts with unsavory characters. That is part of the job of being in an intelligence agency. What those contacts are, how they are operationalized, who has them – all of that is what we are now working on together. But I don’t think you would get any denial from either the ISI or the CIA that people in their respective organizations have contacts with members of groups that have different agendas than the governments. But that doesn’t mean that they are being directed or being approved or otherwise given a seal of approval.

So I think what we are saying is let’s use those contacts to try to bring these people to the table to see whether or not they are going to be cooperative. In fact, as I said earlier – and this kind of goes to your point – it was the Pakistani intelligence services that brought a Haqqani member to a meeting with an American team. So you have to know where to call them. You’ve got to know where they are. So those are the kinds of things that we have to examine and understand how they can be beneficial for our mutual efforts to prevent the kind of attacks that threaten Pakistanis and Americans.

QUESTION: So CIA and ISI, they have contacts with different militant groups.


QUESTION: But CIA have no evidence against ISI that ISI helped Taliban to attack U.S. Embassy.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it was actually the Haqqani Network that attacked the U.S. Embassy.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Not that I am aware of. Not that I’m aware of.

QUESTION: You don’t have any complete evidence?

SECRETARY CLINTON: There – look, when we talk about a big organization like the ISI, there are some people who could sit here and absolutely tell you truthfully they know nothing. And there are other people who, again, have contacts, who may know something but certainly had nothing to do with whatever happened.

MODERATOR: Top-level clearance wasn’t there. Something like that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. Yeah, we have no evidence of that.


QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, now that America is negotiating with the Taliban, are there going to be any red lines? Because I know that you have said that you’re going to fight, you’re going to talk at the same time. At the moment, Mullah Omar has been very clear on his position. He has said that he will not abide by the Afghan constitution and he will not lay down their – his weapons. At the same time, we have seen reports that your government has approached him through Germany through Tayeb Agha, one of his aides. So what really is your position? What is your policy on talking to the Taliban? And are there any red lines?

SECRETARY CLINTON: There are certainly red lines. And this is a potential negotiation, not a negotiation. There is a long way to go before we even can test whether it’s real or not. Remember, Professor Rabbani thought he was meeting with someone who was sincere in pursuing peace on behalf of the Quetta Shura and was killed for his trust in that. So we have no illusions about the difficulty of this.

But we do have three red lines that are shared by the Afghans: Number one, any group that wishes to enter into a peace or reconciliation has to agree to give up violence and abide by the rules and the constitution of the country. And they have to cut ties with al-Qaida. And for me personally, I will tell you that abiding by the constitution and the laws of the country of Afghanistan means respecting the rights of minorities and women. I mean, I cannot in good faith participate in any process that I think would lead the women of Afghanistan back to the dark ages. I will not participate in that.

Young girls deserve to go to school, women in childbirth deserve to see a doctor, they need to be freed of a burqa if that is their choice. So I have not only the red lines of my government, but I enter into this with a sense of obligation, particularly to the women of Afghanistan who have made great progress – everything from the number of girls going to school, going to university, lowering maternal and infant mortality. I could not in good conscience see people come back into power who would say to the two of you, “Get back in your houses and never come out and don’t let me see your face.”

MODERATOR: And truly, yeah.


QUESTION: I would just like to ask Secretary Clinton, you are known to be a champion on women’s rights, but how are you going to make sure that the people that you are speaking to, including the aides of Mullah Omar and the people who are now in power, are actually going to respect basic rights and freedoms, especially of women. How are you going to make sure once your troops pull out?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, we are negotiating a strategic partnership document with the Afghans. We are committed to an enduring partnership with the people of Afghanistan, as is NATO. So yes, our combat troops will be transitioning out, the Afghan security forces will be assuming responsibility, but we will still have a presence in Afghanistan for many years to come.

But I think your question goes to the heart of any peace negotiations. Ultimately, you have to make a decision and it’s up to the Afghans to make this decision. We cannot want peace more than they do or less than they do. It is up to them. But if some of the overtures that we have knowledge of prove to be true, where the Taliban may not yet be publicly proclaiming but they’re rethinking some of their policies, particularly on girls and education, then we will explore that. But this is all very premature because we truly do not yet have a negotiation going.

MODERATOR: Absolutely.

SECRETARY CLINTON: So I don’t want to jump the gun and predict what will or won’t happen, but I thank you for asking about red lines because it’s very, very important to us that we be sure that the gains that Afghans have made not be erased.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, during your last visit, you assured the Pakistan nation that the U.S. wants a long-term relationship with Pakistan, but many others predicted that it was just a matter of convenience, and as long as the U.S. has interest in the region, it would stay with Pakistan. And recent events have again given those critics a chance to say that Pakistan and U.S. have became – become estranged (inaudible). And as you were talking about this 90 percent – 95 percent agreement taking place on this (inaudible), can you tell us what are the 10 — 5 percent challenges which are remaining in this relationship?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think that that is part of the resumption of our strategic dialogue, which we have now begun again to work through that. For example, to go back to the question about fighting and talking, I think that some of our Pakistani counterparts are concerned that that won’t – that’s not an effective way to proceed, that maybe what first needs to be done is try to negotiate a ceasefire. That’s just an example of the discussions that are going to be held.

And that is something that we want to discuss, we want to hear the views of, but it’s done in the context of overall agreement about where we’re trying to head. So I think that the important takeaway from the last 24 hours is that we had very frank, very open exchanges, which I think you do with friends and allies. And I think we heard each other, which sometimes in the din of all of the excitement and the press coverage and the accusations coming in different directions, we can’t hear.

But that doesn’t mean the path forward is easy, because what’s at stake is so important. And therefore we’re going to take it day by day, step by step, but I’m feeling very reassured that I think we’re back on the right track.

QUESTION: One follow-up on this. Secretary Clinton, from the time that President Bush right up to the election of (inaudible) President Obama and (inaudible), pointing out that (inaudible) bordering Pakistan be used (inaudible) and the same accusation is repeated again and again. And we see just so many high-profile visits taking place and similar statements that things are improving, things will get better, like that. Why Americans love Pakistan so much?


QUESTION: Why Americans love Pakistan so much?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Why do we love you so much? (Laughter.) Well, you’re very interesting people for one thing. (Laughter.) And this is an important country with enormous potential. I mean, I’m big on potential. I go around talking about people living up to their God-given potential, countries living up to it as well. And we’ve had a commitment that I think is challenged from time to time because of our respective histories and the way we see things.

But it has continued through many decades. And I was reminded last evening by the much younger foreign minister on the Pakistani side that in the previous generation of Pakistani-American leadership, there was so much cooperation. I mean, the Tarbela Dam, universities built, lots of things that left a lasting impression that we believe helped to contribute to what was a new state that came into being the same year I was born. So I have a special affinity.

I think it’s something that is also fueled by the many Pakistani Americans who make so many contributions to our own country. I have many Pakistani American friends. They go home, as they view it, to Pakistan every year, but they’re very hard-working, very loyal Americans at the same time. So it’s that kind of combination which makes us somewhat unique in our relationship.

MODERATOR: Yeah, and we’ve been great friends, opening up with China, breaking down the Berlin Wall, and so on, so forth. We haven’t done any less.

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, is there an agreement between Pakistan and the U.S. on Afghan blueprint? And then secondly, is President Obama coming to Pakistan early next year?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, with respect to the Afghan blueprint, that’s part of what we are working on at the two upcoming conferences where all three of us will be present – the Istanbul conference, which is an effort to try to get the region to buy into a vision of the New Silk Road, something that we think can help organize a lot of economic activity through the region. And we want – I mean, we know that without Pakistan’s active support it’s not going to work for Afghanistan. And I have to commend your government, and I told President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani and others that the work you’re now doing with India to open up your borders to trade and commerce is exactly what we believe is going to benefit Pakistan over the next decade.

So we’re looking at a blueprint of which Afghanistan is certainly an important part, but just a part. How do we enhance the economic integration in South and Central Asia, which will be enormously beneficial to Pakistan? You are so perfectly, geographically sited to take advantage of all the increase and trade that we think could come.

The pipeline that we think is a great idea from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan to Pakistan to India that would bring natural gas – now, it’s a geographic and security challenge to build such a pipeline. But are we serious about it? Are we willing to explore it? That’s the kind of discussion we’re going to have, and the blueprint for Afghanistan fits into that.

With respect to President Obama, I cannot say for certain, but I think he’s going to be preoccupied traveling around the United States next year because it is an election year. But as you know, he has very fond memories from the trip he took to Pakistan as a young man, and I’ve heard him say personally he would like to return, but it might have to be a second-term visit instead of a first term.

QUESTION: If you can allow me (inaudible), you have been the political rival of President Obama. Will you be contesting elections against him – (laughter) –

SECRETARY CLINTON: No. No, sir, no. First of all —

MODERATOR: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: — he will be and deserves to be reelected. And I cannot participate in politics in my current position, but I have said on many different occasions that I think President Obama will be reelected, which I think is good for America.

MODERATOR: Secretary Clinton, just to pick up on something that Mazhar raised about gas pipeline projects, we were told that it was reported that during the last energy talks between Pakistan and the United States, I mean, United States officials advised Pakistan to stay away from the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project. Would you like to comment on that?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, of course, we believe that Iran is a very difficult and even dangerous neighbor for all the countries that it borders, and there is an apparently quite unpredictable political and economic situation inside Iran right now. Therefore, we think if there are other routes and other ways of meeting Pakistan’s energy needs, it would be a more likely and enduring commitment.

MODERATOR: So – but Pakistan is our friend — Iran is our friend, you know that?

Yes, Nadeem.

QUESTION: Regarding Istanbul conference, is there any possibility of representatives of the Taliban groups participating in that talk?

SECRETARY CLINTON: No, no, because this is too – way too early in the process, and nobody’s even sure who that would be, so no.

QUESTION: And one question relating to that Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, you had talks two months ago (inaudible) U.S. assistance to Pakistan. But what (inaudible), only (inaudible) million dollars have been actually given to Pakistan, (inaudible) million dollars promised in (inaudible) assistance. What happened to that program?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, actually, $2 billion in assistance has been delivered in the last calendar year.

QUESTION: Under Kerry-Lugar-Berman?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, and also under flood relief, so about 900 million in response to the first devastating flood and the rest in civilian assistance under Kerry-Lugar Berman.

QUESTION: If I can duly ask, do you have any favorite groups in Afghanistan as far as the United States is concerned? And similarly, as far as Pakistan is concerned, when will you talk about reconciliation with the Taliban?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Do we have any favorite groups?


SECRETARY CLINTON: No. We think that there have been some important contacts within Afghanistan of people representing elements of the Taliban, elements of other terrorist groups, like the HIG, for example. So we know that there are – there’s a lot outreach going on. It’s one

of the things Professor Rabbani was doing. I think it’s part of the reason why we believe the Taliban killed him, because he was being too effective in outreach. He came to Islamabad several times to consult here, and they weren’t ready. And they also thought it would demoralize the Afghans, which it did, because it was such a terrible national blow. So we’re exploring all that.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MODERATOR: Too many follow-ups.

QUESTION: Just wait. (Laughter.) (Inaudible) then on the outcome, I think Pakistan and United States (inaudible) that a strong and stable Afghanistan is in interest of (inaudible) Pakistan as well, then why there are so many strong differences on strategy and tactics?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t – I just said I don’t think there are, once we actually sit down and go through them. I think that there is agreement on everything from squeezing the Haqqani – now, the tactics about doing that are obviously up to each government. There is absolute agreement on trying to move forward on a peace process. The particulars of it have to be worked out, but generally, I think we’re in agreement.


QUESTION: Secretary, today in your press talk along with our foreign minister, you said that – you again emphasized the need to take action against militants and various safe havens in Pakistani-controlled areas. I’m interested to know about the U.S. action of policy regarding Fazlullah, Maulvi Faqir, who are operating from Kunar and Nuristan provinces in Afghanistan and staging attacks on our border areas from the province from which I belong in Dir, Swat, and Chitral. And in recent attacks, more than a hundred people lost their lives. Should we expect concrete action by the U.S. and ISAF troops in Afghanistan against those safe havens in Afghanistan? And can you give me the time, then? Because you expected us to operate against those elements in days, not in months or years.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, as I said at the press conference, I think we have to take action against safe havens on both sides of the border. And we are upping our military tempo against safe havens. I referenced a recent military operation that went after, in particular, the Haqqani Network operatives. But we agree with you that we have to do more on both sides. And it may be that focusing on the safe havens right now is the most effective way, number one, to diminish the attacks and thereby save people’s lives, but number two, send an unequivocal message to terrorists on both sides that they’ve got to come to some kind of negotiation with both the Pakistani Government and the Afghan Government.

QUESTION: Pakistani (inaudible) spokesperson (inaudible) told us that we have always shared information, intelligence information, regarding Fazlullah hiding in Afghanistan. Can you tell us what has been the response of U.S.? Will you help us in getting rid of that terrorist, because when we do programs in Swat, people still have memories of those many days in which women, men, old people were hanged and were killed?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. It was terrible. I remember what was happening in Swat, because it was happening as I was becoming Secretary of State. And I thought the actions taken by your government and your military were absolutely essential in order to dislodge them from territory they were trying to occupy. And we take seriously all of them. Now, look, as you know, on both sides, intelligence is sometimes actionable and sometimes not. And sometimes even when you act on intelligence, you’re not successful. And I won’t go any further than that.

QUESTION: One last question. On (inaudible).

MODERATOR: No, I think – no, no, they’re too many last questions. (Laughter.)


MODERATOR: I’ll ask one question, and then Hamid one, and then (inaudible).

QUESTION: Very short.

MODERATOR: Very short.

QUESTION: I would like to inform you about – that today’s headlines in Washington Post and New York Times. These are about your press conference in Kabul.

MODERATOR: Hamid, keep it short.

QUESTION: “Clinton Warns Pakistan on Insurgent Havens.” And The New York Times said “Clinton Issues Blunt Warning to Pakistan.” So tomorrow, there will be more headlines about your warnings in the U.S. media. Would you like to tell us about your —

MODERATOR: What headline would you like to see? That’s a good one. What headline would you like to see?

QUESTION: The truth about your warnings.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think I’ve discussed them. I discussed them in a press conference, I’ve discussed them in an interview, I’ve discussed them in this press roundtable. And as I’ve said, I’m not saying anything different than I’ve said in the past or that I said in Pakistan, and —

QUESTION: So these headlines are not correct?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, they are correct. I’m warning —

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m warning that if we do not handle these safe havens together, the consequences could be drastic for us both.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yeah. On both sides of the border.

MODERATOR: Yeah. Secretary Clinton —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Both sides of the border.

MODERATOR: Let me ask you one final question. This relationship, we were very upbeat two years ago. Now we have been kind of really – it’s a troubled phase. Do you ever reflect in Washington and ask yourselves what mistakes Washington also made to bring us where we are? Because we know there are mistakes that were —

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, one thing that I believe – and I have also said this before – I think sometimes our public messaging is not helpful. And therefore, we have to be more thoughtful and careful about what we say and when we say it. Now, I think that the press coverage on both sides, frankly, gets a little hysterical from time to time, which then in – ignites political reaction, which then leads to statements being made on both sides.

And – so yes, I think that we bear a certain responsibility for that, and I think it’s important that there be a real conscious effort. There’s too much at stake, and most fundamentally for the future of Pakistan.

QUESTION: One small question —

MODERATOR: One question – you know they’re telling me they want to get (inaudible). (Laughter.) She’s desperate. Make it very brief, very brief, and then we’ll come to you. Very brief.

QUESTION: I’ll make it very short. But there’s a perception here in Pakistan that America looks at Pakistan from the prism of Afghanistan. Now, ten years ago, you came here to this region to fight the Taliban. Now, you’ve ended up negotiating with the same Taliban. You are going to be leaving Afghanistan, and many people in Afghanistan and Pakistan both feel that you’re going to leave Afghanistan with a structure, which is there’s going to be no political parties there, there’s going to be no independent judiciary there, so there will be no structure to have a transition to democracy.

MODERATOR: This is – okay, too long a question.

QUESTION: Have you failed in (inaudible) Afghanistan —

MODERATOR: Okay. Have you failed in Afghanistan? Okay. The question is as simple as this.

SECRETARY CLINTON: No. I would say not at all. I would, I think, usefully remind us all that building democracy takes time, and there has been tremendous changes in Afghanistan, but there is much more work still to be done.


SECRETARY CLINTON: And that’s why I said we’re going to have an enduring partnership to work with Afghanistan to make sure that they get the benefit of building institutions. So this is a long-term commitment. But we do not look at Pakistan through the prism of Afghanistan. We look at Pakistan as a very important country with whom we have an important relationship that needs constantly to be replenished by negotiations and discussions and openness and everything that we try to do.

MODERATOR: Well, I think on this —

QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, you – just –


QUESTION: You had a 45-minute, one-to-one meeting with President —

MODERATOR: He wants some news. (Laughter.) He’s got to get news. He’s got to get some news. Give him some news.

QUESTION: You had 45-minute, one-to-one meeting with President Zardari. Any specific decisions have been taken? And secondly, there were reports in Pakistani media about President Zardari had wrote a letter to President Obama. Can you confirm or otherwise?

MODERATOR: That’s an important question.

SECRETARY CLINTON: I cannot confirm, because that’s – I would leave that to others, if it happened, to confirm it. Okay? Because I don’t think that’s appropriate for me to say. But I think that President Zardari fully appreciates the relationship between our two countries, and we talked a lot about trade and investment. We talked a lot about the need to keep pushing at market access, which is something that he is totally committed to, and I gave him an update that we’re working on a bilateral investment treaty, which I hope we’ll be able to negotiate to conclusion in the next months. We are working to expand this New Silk Road vision. We’re working to get an enterprise fund passed by the Congress. So I – in response to President Zardari’s very strong appeal for more economic activity and more market access, I gave him an update and told him that we would keep working.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton. I think on this note, we’ll end this session, and we really are grateful that we had this candid – opportunity for this candid dialogue. Not only do our two countries have a long history of close cooperation, I think both countries at varying degrees have an important role to play both in the region and, I think, within the Asian continent as far as economic and security structures goes. So this is a relationship that must be ongoing. Thank you very much. A pleasure to have you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: We agree. Thank you so much.

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Remarks from Press Availability in Islamabad


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Reuters Soundbite
Islamabad, Pakistan
October 21, 2011

“In response to the legitimate concerns that we have heard from our Pakistani partners, we are trying to squeeze and prevent terrorists on the Afghan side of the border from attacking Pakistan. Now similarly, we need greater cooperation on the Pakistani side of the border. In effect, we want to squeeze these terrorists so that they cannot attack and kill any Pakistani, any Afghan, any American, or anyone.””We had serious in depth discussions that reflected the urgency of the issues before us. And these are issues that we feel are important for us to address together. The Afghan peace process, reconciliation, how do we do it, how do we make it work. The Haqqani network, how do we prevent them from wreaking havoc across the border and — in the words of both Pakistanis and Americans — squeeze them to prevent them from planning and executing attacks. How do we tackle the problem of improvised explosive devices that kill Pakistanis, Afghans, Americans? So we had a very in depth conversation with specifics. And we are looking forward to taking that conversation and operationalising it over the next days and weeks, not months and years, but days and weeks, because we have a lot of work to do to realize our shared goals.”

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