Kerry warns Pak to be more cooperative
Such a warning, ahead of the Chicago summit later this month which is expected to take crucial discussions related to Afghanistan, came from none other than Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee and architect of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill that allotted USD 7.5 billion to Pakistan for five years.
"I personally think it is simply unacceptable to have a zone of immunity for acts of war against armed forces and against the collective community that has tried to accomplish what it has tried to accomplish," Kerry said in his remarks at a Congressional hearing convened by him on the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago.
"That means Pakistan has to become more assertive and more cooperative, and we may have to resort to other kinds of self-help, depending on what they decide to do," said Kerry, who in the Obama Administration is considered to be the best friend of Pakistan.
Several times in the past three years, Kerry has flown to Pakistan to troubleshoot when all other means have failed ? be it the Raymond Davis Case or the helicopter that got damaged in the Osama bin Laden raid at Abbottabad a year ago.
Such a remarks coming from Kerry is reflective of the changing mood in the United States particularly at a time when the two countries are holding crucial negotiations on the reopening of the ground lines of communications and other related issues between them.
Testifying before the committee, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon said that at Chicago meet the US anticipates three deliverables in particular: a deal on an interim milestone in 2013 when ISAF`s mission will shift from combat to support for the Afghan National Security Forces, the NSF; secondly, an agreement on the size, cost and sustainment of the ANSF beyond 2013; and, finally, a roadmap for NATO`s post-2014 role in Afghanistan.
"Now, the Afghans themselves have already pledged USD 500 million a year of their own money toward that goal for three years and that amount should rise year by year after that, and Secretary Gates challenged the rest of ISAF to come up with a billion euros per year — it`s about USD 1.3 billion of that USD 4.1 billion total — and we have been working very hard at the highest levels of our government to get the rest of the international community to deliver on that pledge," he said.
"So that if we get to that point of the USD 4.1 billion and the Afghans will be doing half a billion, the other members of ISAF would be doing at least USD 1.3 billion, that would bring our numbers down, obviously, considerably and by a factor of, you know, five or six or more," Gordon said.
At Chicago, NATO is going to produce its strategic plan for Afghanistan where it will be trying to deal with numbers of Afghan security forces and describe what the NATO presence is going to look like, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for European and NATO Policy James Townsend said.