The US will train 10,000 Pakistani women in various fields and provide $2 billion in foreign military assistance to Pakistan.
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureishi held a joint press conference after the end of a third round of US-Pakistan strategic talks on Friday. The announcement of military assistance, which will be delivered over five years from 2012 to 2016, came at the opening of the talks.
Clinton said Washington had no closer ally in the struggle against Islamist insurgents. “The US has no stronger partner when it comes to counterterrorism efforts against the extremists who threaten us both than Pakistan,” Clinton said.
She said President Barack Obama’s administration would ask the US Congress to approve the military assistance to complement the $7.5 billion in civilian projects it already has approved.
She said Pakistani and US officials had “productive discussions” this week about eliminating extremist groups operating in Pakistan. “These groups threaten the security first and foremost of the people of Pakistan, of neighbors, of the United States and indeed of the world,” Clinton told Pakistani and US officials participating the wide-ranging talks.
Qureshi said it was time to counter naysayers who argue that Islamabad’s heart is not in the fight against the insurgents. “Prophets of doom are back in business, painting doomsday scenarios about our alliance,” he said. “They are dead wrong.”
Qureshi urged Obama to press India for a solution to the disputed region of Kashmir, where the Muslim majority population has participated in violent protests in recent months against Indian rule.
“President Obama has always understood the importance of a Kashmir solution,” Qureshi said. “His coming visit to the region is the time to begin to redeem the pledge.”
The strategic dialogue is organized into 13 working groups, ranging from water and agriculture to communications and defence.