Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, November 09, 2007

Restoration of democracy in Pakistan would boost Afghan security, U.S. official says

In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Tuesday, U.S. Undersecretary for Defense for Policy Eric Edelman discussed his reservations about the recently-imposed emergency rule in Pakistan, while stressing Washington’s conviction for the establishment of democracy in the country.

Edelman voiced concern over President Pervez Musharraf’s emergency declaration as well as his vagueness in setting election dates that would return Pakistan to civilian rule.

“We are deeply disturbed as a government, as are others, by the issuance of the so-called provisional constitutional order. I think it would have been our preference that Pakistan stay on the course that it was on of having elections and moving towards a more firmly rooted constitutional form of government, rooted in the voice of the people as registered at the polls,” he said.

The cross border movement of Taliban and al-Qaeda between Afghanistan and Pakistan has usually been viewed as a principally Afghan problem. However, insurgent groups are active in Pakistan’s tribal areas as well, leading some to fear a much larger regional problem. On this, Edelman said: “It is something that we have been concerned about and have had ongoing discussions with our Pakistani colleagues about, and our hope is that we can help provide them with the kind of successful counterinsurgent strategy that they are going to need, which is going to involve a lot more than just military activity. It is going to require a lot of economic, social, and political development.”

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