Obama Warns Pakistan on Ties With Militant Groups

Washington, Oct 7 (IANS): US President Barack Obama Thursday warned Pakistan on its alleged ties with some militant groups, saying Washington will not accept a long-term relationship in which Pakistan is "not mindful" of US interests.

"There is no doubt that there's some connections that the Pakistani military and intelligence services have with certain individuals that we find troubling," Obama told reporters at a news conference at the White House.

Obama said Pakistan is hedging its bets on the future of Afghanistan by "having interactions with some of the unsavory characters" who may regain power after the US troops pullout.

"But there's no doubt that we are not going to feel comfortable with a long-term strategic relationship with Pakistan if we don't think they're mindful of our interests as well," he said.

Recently, the US has been stepping up its efforts demanding Pakistan to cut ties with militant groups, including the Haqqani network blamed for attacks on the US embassy in Afghanistan. Last month, Chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff Mike Mullen publicly accused the Haqqani network of being a "veritable arm" of the Pakistani intelligence service, which prompted a furious response from Pakistan.

The recent row has sent the two countries' ties to a new low, which had already been damaged after US special forces secretly entered Pakistan and killed Al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden without knowledge and permission from Islamabad.

But Obama admitted that the US fight against Al Qaida could not have been "as successful" without cooperation from Pakistan.

Regarding Pakistan's concern on a post-withdrawal Afghanistan in alliance with India, he argued that a peaceful approach toward India "would be in everybody's interests and would help Pakistan actually develop".

Obama also talked about the "reorientation" of American aid to Pakistan, saying the US is willing to help the Pakistani people to strengthen their society and government.

The US has threatened to cut military aid to Pakistan unless results on fighting militants being seen, while at the same time shifting more focus to the civilian aid.


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