Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pak funding of Mujahideen in Kashmir is counterproductive: Obama

Noting that Pakistan has tolerated or in some cases funded the Mujahideen in Kashmir, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has said such efforts are "counterproductive" for Islamabad.

Ahead of his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, Obama said historically Pakistan has tolerated or in some cases funded the Mujahideen because they think it's somehow helpful to them in Kashmir which continues to be a "constant instigator" of tension between Islamabad and New Delhi.

"We have to have an honest conversation about how counterproductive that is," Obama said in an interview, published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday.

Asked whether US should play a role in negotiations between Pakistan and India, he said, "use that as an example of how we need to think comprehensively about the region. If one of the central concerns of Pakistan is its security posture towards India, then we need to put that on the table for discussion as we try to solve the problems in Afghanistan".

Asked about the forthcoming talks between Gilani and President George Bush in Washington, Obama said the US must emphasise the importance of closing down terrorist camps.

"It's not just in the interest of Afghan security, or US security, it is in the interest of Pakistani security that we shut down those bases," he said.

"I know that the new prime minister is coming to Washington. I'll be very interested hearing what he has to say. Obviously, they are a new government. But I think it's very important that we emphasise to them how seriously we take these base camps," he added.

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