Pakistan seeks long-term commitment from U.S.
Pakistan's foreign minister urged the United States on Tuesday to make a long-term commitment to his country, neighboring Afghanistan and the region as President Barack Obama reviews his Afghan strategy, Reuters reported.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi made the appeal as the Obama administration debates whether to send up to 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan or scale back the mission and focus on striking al Qaeda cells.
Speaking after talks with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Qureshi alluded to the U.S. decision to effectively abandon Afghanistan after the 1989 withdrawal of Soviet forces and urged Washington to learn from its mistakes.
"What we are looking for is a long-term commitment," he told reporters at a joint news conference with Clinton.
"Why do I say that? Because the people of the region have to be reassured that the United States has a long-term vision, not just for Afghanistan and Pakistan but the entire region.
"The inconsistency of the past has to be kept in mind and we have to build on learning from the mistakes of the past," he said, without directly referring to U.S. history in the region.
In one sign of Washington's interest in Pakistan, Congress voted on Sept. 30 to triple nonmilitary aid to help fight extremism in the nuclear-armed country.