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Clinton lays out three-track strategy on Afghanistan, Pakistan


09:11, October 28, 2011

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a hearing on "Afghanistan and Pakistan: Transition and the Way Forward" before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, Oct. 27, 2011. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday laid out the so-called three-track strategy of fight, talk and build in dealing with issues on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Speaking at a hearing held by the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Clinton said the U.S. is pursuing all three tracks at once, as "they are mutually reinforcing."

"The chances of success for all three are greatly increased by strong cooperation from the Afghan and Pakistani governments," she said.

In terms of the fight, she noted that during the trip to Islamabad last week, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey, CIA director David Petraeus and she delivered a " single, unified" message to Pakistan, in a bid to address concerns on militants who have safe havens inside the country.

"Pakistan's civilian and military leadership must join us in squeezing the Haqqani Network from both sides of the border and in closing safe havens," said Clinton.

She said the U.S. underscored to Pakistan's leaders the urgency of the issue and had "detailed and frank" conversations about the concrete steps both sides need to take.

On the second track of talking, Clinton said in both Kabul and Islamabad, she reaffirmed America's strong support for an inclusive Afghan-led peace process.

She reiterated the three conditions for insurgents to join the political process, namely to renounce violence, abandon al-Qaeda, and abide by the laws and constitution of Afghanistan.

With respect to the third track of building, Clinton said the U. S. is helping build capacity and opportunity in Afghanistan, Pakistan and across the region.

"This is part of a clear-eyed strategy rooted in a lesson we have learned over and over again around the world -- lasting stability and security go hand in hand with greater economic opportunity," she noted, asserting that it is critical to continue civilian assistance in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

During her trip to Pakistan, Clinton on last Friday described the Taliban-linked Haqqani network as a serious threat to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, urging Islamabad to take action against the "safe heavens" of all such groups on its soil.

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