PERU - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged Pakistan to take steps against extremism, a media report said.
"The people of Pakistan are saying what needs to be said so eloquently now – that children, boys and girls, deserve to go to school; they deserve to have the chance to make the best of their God-given potential, to make a contribution to their society", she pointed out.
"Any country that doesn’t stand up against extremism in order to protect its children has to really take a hard look, and I think that’s what’s happening in Pakistan. And I certainly hope so because there are so many thousands of young girls who deserve to go to school, who deserve to have an education, and those who are committing these terrible acts of violence need to be brought to justice", she stressed.
Secretary Clinton said that al-Qaeda was being defeated in Afghanistan. "I think it’s absolutely fair to say that the major leadership of al-Qaida, including bin Ladin, has been decimated.
There has been an effort to have other al-Qaida affiliate-like organizations – al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb – to try to take up the mantle of al-Qaida, but the core of al-Qaida has been severely damaged", she maintained.
She, however, cautioned that the threat from terrorists was not over yet. "We know that there will be terrorists, if they call themselves that or they call themselves something else, who will continue to terrorize people in the countries where they are based and continue to threaten the United States and our friends and allies", she remarked.
She said that the US was focussed on the job of uprooting the cause of terrorism. "We have never taken at all our eye off the ball of how we have to keep going after those extremists who pose a threat", she said in a firm tone while adding that the plan to drawdown the US forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 was very much on.
"According to the decisions that were made by NATO – and that, of course, includes the United States – we would end major combat operations in 2014, the end of the year", she said. "There’s never been any discussion of continuing that.
What has been discussed is how to train and support and provide specific forms of assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces", she said while referring to a recent statement of Afghan foreign minister about extending beyond 2014.
"There is an enduring commitment that a number of countries have already made to the Afghans, including the United States, but also the UK, France, and others have said we don’t want Afghanistan to end up the way it did after the Soviet Union left and those countries that had been funding the fight against the Soviet Union retreated. So no one wants that to happen.
No one wants Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists again. But what that will look like, who will be involved – all of that is still to be considered", she explained.