We need ‘true trust’ with Pakistan: US commander

March 30th, 2009 - 10:27 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 30 (IANS) Noting that Al Qaeda and other “transnational extremists” have launched attacks on India, United Kingdom and other areas from Pakistan, a top US commander has stressed the need to “establish true trust” with Islamabad.
“Well, we have had ups and downs. Now, it is important to point out that there has been progress in these areas,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, the American commander in the region, told CNN Sunday when asked how come the US did not have “true trust” when it had given Pakistan more than $12 billion in recent years in aid.

“… Let’s remember, this is where the Al Qaeda and transnational extremists are that have-that were the ones that launched the 9/11 attacks, of course, and have launched attacks more recently in the UK, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and other areas.”

“So very important to get into this. We have established, as an example, a joint coordination centre just here just across the Khyber Pass.

“That is the kind of building trust that is very important where we’re providing the products of intelligence activities and so forth and we see the building with the frontier core, with the other elements of the Pakistani military that are active there, the kind of cooperation and coordination necessary.”

Asked if he could tell the Pakistani military the most sensitive US secrets and trust that will be passed on to their security services and then onto the terrorists, Petraeus avoided a direct answer.

“It’s critically important that the fire department, if you will, in Pakistan, do the same thing in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas,” he said suggesting that the US and Pakistan need to work in a coordinated fashion.

“We’ve had ups and downs between our countries over the years. We’ve now got to get on an up and stay on an up with them. And again, working our way forward in that regard has to be critical,” Petraeus said.

Asked the same question Richard C. Holbrooke, US special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan, was more forthright. “Well, of course, you’re absolutely, right,” he said.

“It’s a huge concern for General Petraeus and me.” Holbrooke also noted that Leon Panetta made his first overseas trip as CIA director to the Pakistan region. “This is going to be his focus,” Holbrooke added.

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