Statements by Government Officials about Pakistan
Date: March 29, 2012
Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Defense Department NominatioSENATOR
DANIEL AKAKA (D-HI): Thank you. Dr. Miller, with respect to Afghanistan, many believe that the U.S. and its partners need to work with Pakistan and other neighboring states to reach a political settlement even if such a settlement might be favorable to the Taliban. Dr. Miller, can you discuss your view of a political potential settlement?
JAMES N. MILLER JR., NOMINEE FOR UNDERSECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR POLICY: Thank you, Senator Akaka. First of all, our work with Pakistan is extremely important both in our own bilateral relationship and in ensuring that we're able to succeed in Afghanistan. As you know, we currently have in Pakistan sanctuaries in which Taliban fighters have been able to operate and come across the border. And our — and although Pakistan has done much more in recent years to deal with them, we continue to work with them to try to — to try to do yet more. With respect to a political settlement in Afghanistan, this is the — this is so-called "conversations" on reconciliation, and then at the lower level, of fighters on reintegration. We've seen about 3,800 former Taliban fighters come off the field — 3,800 or so in the last couple of
years through reintegration, and expect that that effort will continue. That's led by the Afghan government.With respect to reconciliation and the potential conversations with the leadership of the Taliban, first of all, those are — those are essentially on hold at the present. But the objective is to structure a process in which Afghans talk to Afghans about the future of Afghanistan. And if the Taliban are to come into — into that political process, they've got to meet the criteria that has been established, including renouncing ties with al-Qaida, including entering into a political process and honoring the Afghan constitution. So that — the requirements for the Taliban to be able to participate as an outcome has been laid out very clearly by — by Secretary Clinton and by others in the administration. That door is open to them to come in — come off thebattlefield and legitimately participate should they be prepared to do so.
The White House Regular Briefing
Q: As for as the president's trip to South Korea is concerned, most of the major and small nuclear nations were there, including India and Pakistan. One, the president met with the Pakistan's prime minister — one, if Pakistan is going to fully agree with the president of the United States as far as your — terrorism or Afghanistan situation is concerned? And second, if president feels that Pakistan's nuclears are safe and in the good hands from the terrorists?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Goyal, I know that Mr. Rhodes read out the bilateral meeting that the president had with Prime Minister Gilani yesterday. I know that the president was pleased to have the opportunity to have that meeting, was pleased with the way that the discussions went. But for details, I'd refer you to that — for details — for a detailed readout of that meeting, I'd refer you to that — to that conference call. On the issue of nuclear security, as you know, this has been an issue that's been at the front of the president's agenda since before he was even elected president. This was an issue that he worked on in the Senate. He delivered a high-profile speech on this issue in Prague in his first year in office; hosted a nuclear security summit here in Washington, D.C.; and of course attended the summit in 2012 in Seoul, Korea, where they announced a number of advances on this front. So this is an issue that remains a national security priority of the president's. And the president was pleased with the — with some of the announcements that were made in the course of the summit earlier this week.
State Department Regular Briefing
Q: — in the neighborhood, Pakistan. This week there have been three high-profile meetings between the U.S. and Pakistan. Ambassador Grossman met President Zardari, then President Obama met Prime Minister Gilani, and today top Pentagon officials are in Islamabad for a meeting with General Kayani. Do you think that this is resumption of talks, the relationship is back on track, your issues have been resolved?
MS. NULAND: Well, again, the president spoke to the relationship when he met with Prime Minister Gilani. We — in terms of getting fully back on track, you know where we've been, which is to respect the parliamentary process, which is continuing. Our contacts have continued all the way through this, so — but in terms of where we go from here, we're going to wait until the Pakistani side finishes its internal debate and then we will look forward to consulting with them on the results