Washington: The US administration on Friday said it is working to build “the broadest possible global coalition” comprising countries like India, China and Russia to bring stability to Afghanistan and Pakistan by helping them tackle the extremist threat and meet needs of their people.
“To achieve our objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan in support of our core goal, we are working to build the broadest possible global coalition to help Afghanistan and Pakistan become more stable and prosperous so that they can withstand the extremist threat and meet the most important needs of their people,” said the Office of the Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In a 39-page policy document ‘Afghanistan and Pakistan: Regional Stabilization Strategy’, it said this coalition would contribute increased civilian and military resources, pursue efforts to build legitimate trade and economic activity, curb illicit financial flows and provide critical political support
“Our objectives are shared by the people and governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan and by people around the world, from Europe to Australia, from Russia to China to India, and across the middle east ... (which) face a common threat from al-Qaeda,” said the document, which was released by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton days before the crucial London meet on Afghanistan and Pakistan later this month.
“There are now 43 ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) allies and partners and more than 84,000 US and international troops working together in Afghanistan,” it said.
“Similarly, over 60 countries and international organizations are now providing assistance to Pakistan. Almost 30 Special Representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan coordinate policies in regular meetings and will be supported by a new international executive secretariat in US special representative Richard Holbrooke’s office in Washington,“ the document said.
According to the policy paper, all of Afghanistan’s and Pakistan’s neighbours have a stated interest in stabilizing the two countries.
“Our regional diplomacy is expanding, with a sharpened focus on shifting the calculus of Afghanistan’s neighbours from competition in Afghanistan to cooperation and economic integration,” it said.
“In 2010, we will build on bilateral discussions with Russia, China, India, and Afghanistan’s neighbours. The Afghanistan-Pakistan-United States Trilateral Dialogue is a proven framework for advancing cooperation on issues such as transit trade, agriculture, interior issues and intelligence,” the US State Department document said.
“Since 2001, our international partners have pledged USD 24 billion to Afghanistan and international financial organizations, including the World Bank, have committed an additional USD 2 billion in grants and credits for more than 30 significant development and reconstruction projects,” it said.
The US and other countries have pledged over $5.6 billion in 2009 for relief and development in Pakistan and are supporting the IMF’s provision of a $11.35 billion stand-by arrangement, the document noted.