Pakistan remains central to Kabul’s affairs: Kerry

Richard Olson says his priority would be more action against the Haqqani Network.

Huma Imtiaz August 01, 2012


The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held its nomination hearing on Tuesday with Richard Olson and James Cunningham, nominated for the posts of US Ambassadors to Pakistan and Afghanistan, respectively, giving their testimonies.

In his opening remarks, the committee’s chairman Senator John Kerry said Pakistan remains central to what happens in Afghanistan.

“Last year was very challenging for our relationship with Pakistan,” he added.

Many Pakistanis, according to him, believe that the US will abandon the region like it did after the Soviet war. And that is why, he said, Pakistan “continues to hedge its bets and rely on certain insurgent groups for strategic depth.”

Senator Lugar said that despite the death of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have a presence in Pakistan. In his opening statement, Ambassador Olson said that Pakistan was a nation with resilient people and has great potential.

He highlighted the economic challenges that Pakistan faces, and acknowledged that the last few years had been hard for relations between the US and Pakistan. He added that Pakistanis had suffered greatly from violence in the country.

During the question and answer session with the nominees, Senator Kerry asked Ambassador Olson about the Haqqani Network. Olson said that the Haqqani Network was one of the toughest challenges that the US face.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2012.


Javed Kakar | 10 years ago | Reply

@Zalmai: It gives me pleasure that Afghans have realaised their enemies but here one thing all Afghans have put in their mind that ' we can change friends but we can.t change neighbours'. So if we wana to build and serve Afghanistan we should now just focus how to make Afghanistan a peaceful and prosperous state.

US Centcom | 10 years ago | Reply

The bottom line is that we cannot have a safe and stabilize region without a safe and stable Pakistan. With that said, we must address the issues that are preventing both of our nations from achieving our shared objectives. Terrorist organizations like the Haqqani network have proven that they do not wish to see the region thrive in peace. The regular attacks against our forces leave very little to ponder regarding their evil objectives. The truth is that the Haqqani network poses as much of a threat to Pakistan as they do to the U.S. We respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and that’s why we’ve asked Pakistan to go after this terrorist organization. We have a common wish to see peace prevail in the region. The resumption of the GLOC shows that we are willing to put our differences aside and work closely for the betterment of the region.

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