WASHINGTON, April 20
(APP): The United States called for more international economic
resources to help Pakistan deal with Taliban insurgency as part of a broader
security and stabilization effort in its tribal areas along the restive Afghan
“First of all, I
think, you have to go at economic and social roots of the instability in
Western Pakistan,” US Special Representative for Pakistan and
Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke told CNN in an interview.
Citing low economic
and literacy indicators in the remote tribal areas he claimed “it is a breeding
ground for the kind of rebellion which is now springing up.”
The diplomat said
Pakistan is confronted with a “dangerous situation” in the facing of
spreading militant influence.
He also expressed
concern over the Swat peace arrangement but distanced himself from the scenario
projected by security expert David Kilcullen.
“I’ll let him (Kilcullen)
speak for himself,” Holbrooke replied when asked to comment on the current
situation in the light of the expert’s suggestions.
Ahmed Radhid, a
leading Pakistani expert on Afghanistan and Central Asia, also disagreed with
doomsday scenarios painted by some experts for the country.
“I dont think it can
immediately collapse, it is a big country, 170 million peopole, very many
different enthnic groups. But certainly the spread of the Taliban in the Punjab
is critical,” Rashid told the same GPS program of the channel.
In his appearance,
Holbrooke underscored that it is for the first time Pakistan, India and the
United States are facing “a common threat, a common challenge and a common task
because of this.”
“So, we need more
resources. Senator (John) Kerry (Democratic chairman of the Foreign
Relations Committee) and (Ranking Republican) Senator (Richard) Lugar in
the Senate and Congressman (Howard) Berman, chairman of the House
Committee on Foreign Affairs are putting in a bill for $ 1.5 billion dollars of
aid for the next five years, each year.
“It should deal with
the economic and social issues in the tribal areas.”
Administration pledged one billion dollars “in quick aid” at last week’s Tokyo
conference of Friends of Pakistan, he said, adding that the US assistance
requires Congressional approval.
On the military
side, he said, Pakisan needs to strengthen its Frontier Corps and other
security forces in counterinsurgency operations.
He also pointed out
the importance of winning the propaganda war against militants.
At the same time,
Holbrooke acknowledged the complexity of the challenge facing Pakistan as
he called it a “tremendous set of problems.”
The progress in
fight against terrorists in Pakistani border areas is critical to stemming
the the tide of violence in Afghanistan, he argued.