In response to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and in an effort to dissipate anger on its Afghan policy at the domestic front,the Obama Administration is considering a “Pakistan First” approach to the problem in the region,a leading US daily said.
The “Pakistan First” approach is championed by Vice President Joe Biden,The Washington Post said in a lead editorial on Wednesday.
“One of the ideas the Obama administration is considering in response to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan reportedly is called ‘Pakistan First’,” it said.
“Championed by Vice President Biden,the idea is to focus US efforts on attacking al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan’s tribal areas with drones or Special Forces,while backing the government’s efforts to pacify and develop the lawless areas where al-Qaeda and the Taliban are based,” the Post said.
The battle against Taliban in Afghanistan would be put on the back burner,it said,adding the “Pakistan First” would excuse President Obama from having to anger his political base by dispatching the additional US troops that his military commanders say are needed to stop Taliban’s resurgence.
“It would nominally focus US efforts on a nuclear-armed country that is of far greater strategic importance,” it said. US President Barack Obama has convened a “situation room” meeting on Pakistan today,which would be attended by his top defence,intelligence and security aides,the White House said.
“Funny,then,that Pakistan’s civilian government doesn’t think much of the idea. In a meeting with Post editors and reporters on Wednesday,Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said without reservation that Taliban advances in Afghanistan were a mortal threat to his country,” the Post said.
“We see Mullah Omar”,the leader of the Afghan Taliban,”as a serious threat. If the likes of Mullah Omar take over in Afghanistan,it will have serious implications for Pakistan,” Qureshi told the Post.
“They have a larger agenda,and the first to be impacted by that agenda is Pakistan… Whether they do it in Pakistan or whether they do it in Afghanistan,it will have implications on Pakistan and it will have implications on the region,” he was quoted as saying.
Referring to the editorial board meeting with Qureshi,The Post concluded: “It seems pretty clear that if Obama decides to abandon counterinsurgency in the name of something called “Pakistan First,” America’s best allies in Pakistan won’t be happy.”