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US needs an exit strategy in Afghanistan: Pakistan

Source: PTI
November 14, 2006 15:42 IST
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Pakistan has asked the United States to think of an exit strategy from Afghanistan after holding discussions with Afghans and their neighbours.

In an interview to The Washington Times, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz gave an implicit reminder that the US must leave Afghanistan eventually after having consultations with all stakeholders.

"History is full of examples where we didn't focus too much on exit strategy. A good exit strategy is one which leaves that country, that area, peaceful, economically and politically empowered," he said on Monday.

The daily quoted Aziz saying that Pakistan, a key ally in the war on terror, welcomed an expected reappraisal of US policy in Iran and Afghanistan and that military action alone is "not the answer to the threat posed by extremists in the two countries."

"We believe that conflicts like Iraq, Afghanistan and so on need to be carefully reviewed because military action is not the answer or the solution to such a crisis," he said.

"We must work on winning the hearts and minds of the people. We have to involve the people, to give them the sense that the world cares and their future tomorrow will be better than yesterday," the prime minister told the daily.

Aziz also told the newspaper that he would like to see a more nuanced approach to battling extremism, which included massive investment and economic assistance to the two countries in order to build a sense of well-being for the poor and disenfranchised.

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