Pakistan averse to stable Afghanistan: Obama
WASHINGTON (PAN): US President Barack Obama has alleged that Pakistan, feeling threatened by a stable and democratic Afghanistan, is hedging its bets in having interactions with "unsavory characters" who it thinks might end up regaining power in Kabul.
"They (Pakistan) see their security interests threatened by an independent Afghanistan, in part because they think it will ally itself to India, and Pakistan still considers India their mortal enemy," Obama told a news conference on Thursday.
Pakistan had been more ambivalent about some of US goals in Afghanistan, he said, explaining that one main American objective was being able to transition out of Afghanistan and leave a stable government behind.
"I think that they have hedged their bets in terms of what Afghanistan would look like, and part of hedging their bets is having interactions with some of the unsavory characters who they think might end up regaining power in Afghanistan after coalition forces have left," he added.
His administration had tried to persuade Pakistan it was in their interest to have a stable Afghanistan, and not to feel threatened by an independent neighbour.
"We've tried to get the conversations between Afghans and Pakistanis going more effectively than they have been in the past. But we've still got more work to do," he said. "There is no doubt that there are some connections that the Pakistani military and intelligence services have with certain individuals that we find trouble."
He said the US wanted to get Pakistan to realise that a peaceful approach towards India would be in everybody's interests and would help it develop -- because one of the biggest problems in that country was poverty, illiteracy and lack of development.
"In that environment you've seen extremism grow. You've seen militancy grow that doesn't just threaten our efforts in Afghanistan but also threatens the Pakistani government and people as well. So trying to get that reorientation is something that we're continuing to work on," Obama said.
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