Exclusive interview: US will not end relationship with Pakistan

Published: September 28, 2011

Grossman urged on the need to work towards shared interests. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: As tensions between the US and Pakistan seem to simmer down, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Marc Grossman said in an exclusive interview to Express News, that “it is not about ending the relationship with Pakistan, but about continued engagement.”

Ambassador Grossman said that Pakistan too recognises that the Haqqani network is a threat. “The question is not whether we will work together but how we’ll work together to try and deal with these issues.”

Dubbing the US-Pakistan relationship an important one for both countries, Grossman said that the US wants this relationship to work, “but it’s very important that both the governments and the people recognise that terrorism, and that includes the Haqqani network, is a threat to both of us.” Grossman’s statement comes as part of a series of statements from the US State Department and the Pentagon in the last three days to move away from the air of hostility that was created following Admiral Mullen’s statements on the Haqqani network and its links with the Inter-Services Intelligence.

(Read: Volley heats up – ISI targeted in bitter Mullen tirade)

He listed the high-level contacts between both countries, highlighting the meetings of Secretary Clinton with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh with Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides, and the meeting of US head of Central Command Gen James Mattis with Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and both the US and Pakistan Ambassadors continuing their engagements. He also highlighted the loss of life of Pakistani civilians since 2003 in acts of terrorism, and said that terrorism was a common enemy of both the US and Pakistan.

When asked how both countries could move forward in light of recent developments, Grossman said: “I don’t know if people in Pakistan will agree, but we ought to be able to find a way to identify our shared interests and act on them together. We can work our way through this, that’s what friends do, we can work our way through the challenges.”

Grossman also said that there was a need to keep focused on the people-to-people relationships, citing education and student exchanges with Pakistan and the US assistance given during the floods. He said that the statements coming from Pakistani leaders also signified that they wanted to find a way to move forward. “To me, terrorism is a threat, and we hope that joint action will get taken.”

(Read: US-Pakistan crisis – the either/or tribe)

Additionally, the envoy said: “Don’t forget that a big part of Admiral Mullen’s statements was that Pakistan and the US needed to stay engaged, and that’s what we want to do. This is not about ending relationships, rupturing relationships, it is about continued engagement with Pakistan. The US is a friend of Pakistan and will be there with the country.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th,  2011.

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Reader Comments (48)

  • Tabi
    Sep 28, 2011 - 10:29PM

    Washington does not want its relations with Pakistan to end, however, Washington DOES have a desire to END Pakistan

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  • Digvijay Singh
    Sep 28, 2011 - 10:35PM

    I believe personally that India should stand beside Pakistan in this situation. The USA must, in the interests of global peace, give high priority to the concerns of General Kiyani. There should be no discrimination against the Haqqani group of elderly Afghan statesmen, since there is no evidence of their being involved in criminal activities. Pakistan’s cooperation with this network of Afghan politicians and social reformers called Haqqanis is only in the interests of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

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  • Pundit
    Sep 28, 2011 - 11:07PM

    “Grossman reiterated that terrorism is a common enemy and the two countries needed to work together to fight it.”

    And the Haqqani Group is a mutual friend!

    I think it requires to be a diplomat to utter insensibility with full conviction!Recommend

  • fahad ullah
    Sep 28, 2011 - 11:18PM

    And wht are those shared interests ? ?

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  • HammerHead
    Sep 28, 2011 - 11:32PM

    The White House knows that their attempt to force Pakistan to break the long standing relationship with Haqqanis is futile. This threat and warning of taking unilateral action inside Pakistan is more for the American domestic consumption to cover up the embarrassment due to increase in attacks on high profile places. The NATO and the Americans know that the war is lost in Afghanistan, though the Allied forces could turn Pakistan to stone age but can they afford the price tag attached to it. Soon you will hear that all is back to normal, it seems the American are toning down their threat lately

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  • Grace
    Sep 28, 2011 - 11:32PM

    Does this mean that only Pakistan has to suffer? When a few Western soldiers die, it’s big news but when thousands of Pakistani soldiers die fighting the criminals, we are told to do more? What kind of logic is this? It’s time for Pakistan to worry about its own future alone. What did we get for kicking the Soviets out of Afghanistan and ending the Cold War. The world never thanked us for preventing a nuclear WW3 but instead they left us to clean up all the extremists the West supported against cummunism. Now the Afghanis are behaving as lackeys of the Indians and trying to create problems in Pakistan.

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  • Parvez
    Sep 29, 2011 - 12:24AM

    Who is heavier Mullen or Grossman ?? Who does one believe ??

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  • Jack and Shurli went up the sky....
    Sep 29, 2011 - 12:25AM

    @Digvijay Singh:
    Sardar ji. Exactly…… this is our back yard.

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  • Pundit
    Sep 29, 2011 - 12:38AM

    Mr Grossman: Your career is over…..Pls prepare ur resume.

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  • Shahid
    Sep 29, 2011 - 1:11AM

    America has to come up with a clear road map.Occupation of Afghanistan indefinitely is in no body’s interest. Al-Qaida has long disappeared. Taliban now claim to fight for liberating their country. America has to negotiate a settlement and leave.The sooner the better for every one.

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  • Agha
    Sep 29, 2011 - 1:50AM

    Mr. Grossman, has your military gone bonkers? is your military out of its mind, or what?

    Pakistan will retaliate, Pakistani soldiers will go all out if attacked. There should be no doubt about it.

    If the game plan is to take down Pakistan, then Pakistanis are willing to drop nukes in the Indian and Pacific oceans. This is not empty bluster, Pakistan will fight!

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  • SaudiRules
    Sep 29, 2011 - 3:29AM

    @Digvijay Singh,
    I welcome your comment, you as a my pakistani brother!

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  • sridhar
    Sep 29, 2011 - 5:04AM

    actually i sort of agree with digvijay singh. it is wrong to trust the US. there pupose is destabilisation of most of the world(unless the country wants to join it in ideas,capitalism,etc). read noam chomsky on the vietnam war. especially the bombing of south vietnam even when south vietnam was on it’s side. the bombing was so huge that it was more than the allied bombing of japan in world war. they have a sadistic streak towards them.

    whee i disagree with sighn is that there has been no apology or repentance or justice from the pakistani poeple(i do read many pak forums) about so many bombings instigated from pakistan. the common reply is that it is a raw conspiracy to blame pakistan. i am angry about that but the level of violence in pakistan unleashed in pakistan is insane and for what 20$ billion for ten years- tha’ts less than the 120$ billion per year in afghanistan. that too money printed out of thin air. unless pakistan wakes up, it is going to be sucked up in violence and with it india too. god save everybody

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  • sridhar
    Sep 29, 2011 - 5:23AM

    i second digvijay. us is very good at destabilising. see bombing of south vietnam and laos. though it would make easy for indians to support if attacks against india stop

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  • sudhir
    Sep 29, 2011 - 6:36AM

    @Digvijay Singh:
    u seem to be original one

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  • Gul Khan
    Sep 29, 2011 - 6:49AM

    It does not surprise me…We already Knew how brave US and NATO is.:))

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  • Sep 29, 2011 - 7:07AM

    Because it want to breakup Pakistan by 2015.

    Source:
    Already in 2005, a report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA forecast a “Yugoslav-like fate” for Pakistan “in a decade with the country riven by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen recently in Balochistan.” (Energy Compass, 2 March 2005). According to the NIC-CIA, Pakistan is slated to become a “failed state” by 2015, “as it would be affected by civil war, complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons”. (Quoted by former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Times of India, 13 February 2005):

    By Taliban they mean Uncle Sam backed TTP and not real Afghani Talibans.

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  • Zia
    Sep 29, 2011 - 8:06AM

    Its good but some thing wrong at the bottom.we are waiting and see what will happend..May Allah do good for Pakistan Recommend

  • H.A. Khan
    Sep 29, 2011 - 8:15AM

    I am quite surprised that there has not been a significant statement about the recent US barrage of caustic comments on Pakistan from PresidentRecommend

  • BruteForce
    Sep 29, 2011 - 8:31AM

    They are just biding their time. But, I am amazed Pakistan Aid has not been suspended!

    Everyone knew US doesn’t have much breathing space till they eliminate the leverage Pakistan has over the US in the form of Supply Routes. So, this is to be expected.

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  • Mirza
    Sep 29, 2011 - 8:37AM

    Americans are playing good cop and bad cop Recommend

  • amit
    Sep 29, 2011 - 9:01AM

    @digvijay singh. lol, did you say what you said in full seriousness or was it sarcasm… if it was sarcasm then you sure made me smile. If it was serious then as ur .. you have same intelligence as our dear congressi Mr. Digvijay singh. Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Sep 29, 2011 - 9:18AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.This statement proves that US troops are facing the most worst defeat in Afghanistan by the handful Taliban/Alqaeda warriors and US’ leaders are using baseless and delaying tactics to camouflage their the most worst defeat in Afghanistan by threatening Pakistan and USA didn’t get any lesson from the defeats in Vietnam and Iraq and once again is trying to attack or economic sanctions on Pakistan and this US’ try of attacking on Pakistan shall be its the biggest committed mistake which shall prove the most hazardous for already sinking US’ economy.

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  • vasan
    Sep 29, 2011 - 9:37AM

    Moise : Is the prediction coming true?. IS Pak leadership concerned about it and if so what steps they have taken to avoid it ?

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  • Jeddy
    Sep 29, 2011 - 10:29AM

    Ambassadors should not be speaking to the media or make public statements. They are diplomats and should remain diplomatic. Only the leaders of a country should say what they have to – not ambassadors.

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  • islooboy
    Sep 29, 2011 - 10:30AM

    stop the aid starving paki better than dead paki

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  • KolachiMom
    Sep 29, 2011 - 10:43AM

    I can’t get over the fact that they want ‘protection for their troops’ – What does that even mean? Why would military troops need protection? It’s THEIR job to protect.

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  • Asmat Jamal
    Sep 29, 2011 - 10:43AM

    Good sense is going to prevail on both sides. Blame game is counter productive. Peace, pluralism and patience is answer to all the problems.

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  • Bipul Rajput
    Sep 29, 2011 - 10:59AM

    Americans playing good cop, bad cop.Recommend

  • Ghaznavi
    Sep 29, 2011 - 11:41AM

    @ Vasan

    It is not a prediction, it is the plan. There have been many other plans made by US, but all plans don’t have the same fate in reality.

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  • John B
    Sep 29, 2011 - 11:44AM

    All above commented sarcasm aside, where is PAK going to be after US/NATO withdraw from PAK?

    Afghanistan and PAK problems are still going to be there and US will still be engaged in Afghanistan, atleast non militarily. Where does this put PAK in this trilateral relationship. Can she isolate US from this love triangle?

    PAK should forget India in her Afghanistan equation, which has not gone well for PAK hitherto and look at the scenario as US-Afg-PAK love triangle.

    PAK has no option left is the blunt statement. Forget the silly talk of supply route closing etc.

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  • Sep 29, 2011 - 12:55PM

    Vienna,29-09-2011
    Conflict is in nature,the nature of contact.Grossman or Kleinmann
    can not end that.We are part of nature.We includes Pakistan.
    Our life is bound together in conflict or in love.
    Taravadu Taranga Trust for Media Monitoring TTTMM India
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna

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  • malik
    Sep 29, 2011 - 1:34PM

    @KolachiMom:

    You ask: “I can’t get over the fact that they want ‘protection for their troops’ – What does that even mean? “

    When they say they want ‘protection for their troops’, they mean ‘Please tell your friends NOT to kill us.’ Hope now it is clear.

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  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Sep 29, 2011 - 1:44PM

    America simply cannot afford to end relationship with Pakistan if they want an honorable exit from Afghanistan!!!!

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  • FU JohnB
    Sep 29, 2011 - 2:17PM

    @John B:
    The fate of USA is clogged in Afghanistan as it closed for Alexander the great, The Great Britain and USSR in the past. Every super power of its time has invaded this part of the world (Af -Pak as you would call it today) and went back never to recover from its exploit.
    So please reconcile to the new dawning reality and try to make your exit pain less. Do you remember the photo of last trooper departing from Vietnam. The marines were on the run. The last man was trying to climb the chopper and the Pilot was trying abandon its own marine. He escaped by hanging to the chopper.

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  • KM
    Sep 29, 2011 - 2:19PM

    @John B:
    i like your rationale, but are you saying that the all mighty and powerful US has won the war in Afghanistan??? US is like any other political party in a third world country, shifts sides based on tide. So if you really think that after US/Nato exit from Afghanistan, Pakistan would have problems? They may be in the interim, but in the mid/long run, you know who will overtake in Afghanistan. Sitting in barred walls in Kabul does NOT mean that US/Nato have taken over the country. The rest of the country is still under Talibans control, and this is where the carrot and stick approach does NOT work. For a taliban living a nomad life, has nothing to loose, and so despite being bombed and killed in huge numbers, they yet aspire to kick US out of their country. The live to die, and hence with this approach US can never influence who will rule afghanistan eventually. Therefore, US has to grow beyond its interests if it wishes to have a clean exit, and get the Talibans to talk in public. Draft a timeline, so that they have a stake in US handing over the state of affairs in afghanistan to the afghans themselves, whether Taliban or the Northern Alliance. Pakistan is like a second home to these afghans as they were here, living in our country during the Soviets aggression. In a NUTSHELL, the afghanistan aggression was NOT required at all in the first place if US had any brains to deal with the Talibans in the first place, after 9/11.

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  • Arshad Hussain
    Sep 29, 2011 - 2:43PM

    Militarily US has been defeated in Afghanistan s’ war since Nov, 2001. An army of 150,000 soldiers is in the process to run and retreat after a futile war of one decade, there is no motivation, no initiative and drive to carry on the battle after battle.

    Now Obama and his military advisors are there to creat Haqqani Network s’ issue to creat diversion tactics to safeguard eroding political standing of Democratic party before US public and media for coming election campaign.

    Any military venture against Pakistan will not be a viable option for US Government, thereby strategically jeopardizing its political and military interests once for all.

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  • Zain Kamran
    Sep 29, 2011 - 3:15PM

    Oops, Washington’s play card just got failed miserably, once again!

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  • vasan
    Sep 29, 2011 - 3:33PM

    There seems to be all kinds of opinions as to US lost the war in Afganistan etc. I beg to differ. US got OBL and made AQ shift to Yemen in a weakened position. The rest are all formalities to exit the area. Nothing else. War was over on May 2nd in Abbotabad, my friends , and the OBL saga did put end to the war and the winner was also declared. Now cleaning up the mess of the war is going on and also efforts not to start another war, as far as US is concerned. Whether Pak wants to start another war not , is another story.Recommend

  • Ghaznavi
    Sep 29, 2011 - 5:13PM

    @ malik

    LOL, an army asking other army to protect them, this is a first. Are US troops in Afghanistan on picnic? Or maybe they are holding flowers rather than guns to spread peace harmony and love in Afghanistan. When US troops kill taliban, do they expect to get a medal, flowers and cake from taliban in return? Hell, they can not even defend their embassy and nato headquarter. Whatta bunch of sissies they are…

    We ask the same from US, when TTP attacks from its safe havens in Afghanistan..

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  • Tony C.
    Sep 29, 2011 - 5:57PM

    I have been under the impression for many years that America started, or fully supported and equipped Al Qaeda/Taliban/Haggini in order to create Russia’s Vietnam many years ago. I even recall a senior American at the time chortling over it, and explaining that because of the ground-to-air missiles they were supplying to the insurgents, Russia could not keep a p[lane in the sky.

    Therefore, it is unfortunate, for Admiral Mullen that one of his predecessors has created the problem he is complaining about, and that is why America has a second Vietnam, i.e. Afghanistan. Perhaps the Admiral should read modern history?

    Obviously, pressure is being brought to bear upon the U.S military, because America has been in Afghanistan for ten years with no results to show for it. In fact, just the reverse. A few thousand insurgents are holding down 150,000 American troops, plus many thousands of NATO troops, together with all the modern weapons of war such as tanks, aircraft, drones, bombs, etc, etc, etc.

    Further, It is my understanding that the war has cost one trillion dollars so far, and this is at a time when the U.S. economy is suffering very serious problems with no prospect of a recovery in sight.

    So, what is America doing? As explained previously, America is failing on two fronts. the economic front, and the military front. They have to find someone to blame, and they cannot blame themselves because a big election is coming up, and they would not anyway. The only solution is to blame Pakistan for the military problem, and Europe for the economic problem, and this is exactly what they are doing.

    I do not think Pakistan is in too much trouble. America is just making a lot of noise. Having said that of course, America does make some odd decisions, so to use an Americanism, “keep your powder dry”.

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  • Khan
    Sep 29, 2011 - 8:27PM

    @FU JohnB:
    Mate I don’t know which area you belong to but I am from Pekhawar/Peshawar and my ancestors were from that same area you are referring to which was never occupied/governed by foreign forces i.e the Britain and USSR and most probably they fought for that cause too. While rest of India including most of Pakistan was under British rule, but I will not judge it based on wining or losing.
    Lets think of it like this,
    Your brother hits mine somewhere in the street .. I, in my rage come to your house break the door and beat all your brothers, all 10 of them severely .. and in your defence I get a few kicks from you too .. Then after few hours … I leave your house and you start claiming you have won? In USSR case its (18,000 vs 800,000 to 2 Million on Afghan side). Now go figure who has won. Wars are never won based on occupying territories .. US, still has their bases in Germany, Japan, South Korea and some other countries but no one can say they are occupied.
    Rest of the world has moved and they put their energies in economies, creativity & development but our people are stuck in medieval thinking of false pride.

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  • Sep 29, 2011 - 8:32PM

    @vasan:
    I don’t think it will come true. It takes two to tango and the tide is against US and dollar fed people of questionable loyalty.

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  • Menon
    Sep 29, 2011 - 10:11PM

    @Digvijay Singh:

    India is going to stand neutral and watch the fire works. Afterall, Pakistan started the menace and it is going to fun watching the fire works.

    Do not try to to bring India into this mess. India should stand Pakistan, you must be raving lunatic. Recommend

  • Menon
    Sep 29, 2011 - 10:19PM

    @Agha: e

    Pakistan will retaliate against India? That makes a lot of sense and you think, if there was an attack against Pakistan, the nukes are going to left alone. Nukes will be the first thing to go ou attack India and you will be see stone age.

    Tell me one war Pakistan started that was won by Pakistan? None.

    Your might military can’t fight.Recommend

  • Sep 30, 2011 - 1:04AM

    It is extremely important that we put an end to the cross border attacks for the sake of clearing the region of the wrath of terrorism. Our forces have been hard at work in creating a safer environment for Afghanistan. The days of Taliban rule are long gone and the people of Afghanistan have long begun enjoying the normalcy of a free region. We agree that much more needs to be done, but at the same time, the changes taking place were simply unimaginable under the Taliban dictatorship. On the other hand, it is just as important that Pakistan is no longer plagued with the ongoing acts of terror, and we must remove all safe havens that are being used to orchestrate attacks on both sides of the border. We realize the importance of working side by side to target the terrorists who are not just a threat to Pakistan’s sovereignty but who present a threat to the rest of the world. Terrorist organizations like the TTP and the Haqqani network have proven over and over that they will continue to orchestrate deadly attacks to further their violent and extremist agenda. As the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Marc Grossman, put it during the interview, “The question is not whether we will work together, but how we’ll work together to try and deal with these issues.”

    The common interest must rise above our differences, and every effort to overcome our disagreements deserves applaud. Marc Grossman also stated: “It is not about ending the relationship with Pakistan, but about continued engagement.” Together we have achieved great success, and there is no doubt that we can continue to dismantle these terrorist organizations through combined efforts.

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  • antanu
    Sep 30, 2011 - 10:32PM

    @vasan:

    you are sick with bias…with no sense of history or prevailing policies. You are declaring US a winner only because of pakistan angle.

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  • vasan
    Oct 1, 2011 - 5:55AM

    antanu : Pl go thru the declared war objectives of Bush govt. They try to pressurize the Taliban the maximum (even thru their mentor Pakistan) to hand over OBL.
    Since it didnt happen, the war started. I am neither sick nor biased. You should know who are.

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