WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the U.S. debates its involvement in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s foreign minister urged the U.S. Tuesday to articulate a long-term vision for the region.
“What we are looking for is a long-term commitment,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters after meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “The people of the region have to be assured that the United States has a long-term vision. Not just for Afghanistan and Pakistan but the entire region.”
Qureshi wouldn’t comment on the debate in Washington about whether the U.S. should send up to 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan or scale back the mission, with Qureshi calling it a judgment for “military commanders on the field.”
He said that Pakistan has made great strides in combatting terrorism on its soil, but still needed U.S. support, and he urged Washington not to abandon the region as it did after helping Afghan fighters drive Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989. “You have to keep in mind history,” he said. “The inconsistency of the past has to be kept in mind and we have to build on learning from the mistakes of the past.”
When asked how long he thought the U.S. should stay in Afghanistan, Qureshi said “until the job is done. A peaceful, stable Afghanistan. A peaceful, stable region.”