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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2767

Obama admin lacks Pak strategy: Sen. Kerry

By Wajid Ali Syed – Washington Correspondent for Asian Tribune

Washington, 23 April, (Asiantribune.com): Senator John Kerry has said that President Obama's Afghanistan Pakistan plan "is not a real strategy."

In an interview session with the USA Today, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said "Pakistan is in a moment of peril, and I believe there is not in place yet an adequate policy or plan to deal with it."

He also advised the administration not to use the term "Af-Pak," to describe a unified strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, claiming that it does a disservice to both countries and to the policy. He said, both governments are very sensitive about it and don't see the linkage.

Just back from a visit to Pakistan, Sen. Kerry praised drone attacks against insurgents in Pakistan saying they had driven "bad guys" into Yemen. "I think it has had a dramatic impact, and I think that is one of the reasons why people are screaming about it," he said, adding that he did not think there has been inordinate civilian casualties.

As an example of how he believes counterinsurgency strategy is lacking, Kerry cited the example of a recent Pakistan army operation in Peshawar.

"The army went in, they expended a lot of energy for us, some lives, and you know, nothing came in underneath it — absolutely nothing. So you're going to wind up with a bunch of folks who are going to hate you.

"If the army's going to take the risk of going in there, for God's sake you have the civil component coming in, so you win something for it," Kerry said.

Sen. Kerry has sponsored a bill that would steer $1.5 billion a year in aid to Pakistan. He said he opposes language in a companion bill in the House requiring the president to certify that Pakistan does not support terrorists. Pakistanis consider that "insulting," he said.

The presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan are scheduled to embark on a rare joint visit to the U.S. for meetings in May, and Kerry plans to host them for lunch May 7.

The newspaper noted that Sen. Kerry's remarks were a change from his initial reaction when he called it 'realistic and bold'.

"Obviously the president disagrees with the chairman on this, and the issues he raised are being aggressively worked in the president's new strategy," White House spokesman said in an email to the paper.

- Asian Tribune -

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