Pakistan President Calls for More US Help with India
President Asif Zardari says US aid alone will not overcome Pakistanis' mistrust of the United States and suggests Washington could increase efforts to mediate Kashmir dispute.
Last updated on: December 10, 2009 4:31 AM
Pakistan's president is welcoming increased U.S. assistance for his country, but says the aid alone will not overcome Pakistanis' mistrust of the United States.
In comments published in The New York Times Thursday, Asif Zardari highlighted Pakistani sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, saying 3,000 Pakistani civilians and 2,000 soldiers and police officers have been killed by militants in the last eight years.
But he says there are still American suspicions that his country is not doing everything it can against the militants.
Mr. Zardari says Pakistanis are also wary of American involvement in the region after the 1980s, when the United States helped fund militant groups fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. He said the U.S. involvement and its abrupt end after the Soviet pullout resulted in the current militant violence there.
The president said there are also Pakistani suspicions over Washington's ties to India. Mr. Zardari said Washington should demonstrate neutrality and a willingness to help India and Pakistan overcome their own mutual distrust.
He suggested the United States could increase efforts to mediate the long-running dispute over Kashmir.
In the past, Indian officials have supported only one-on-one talks with Pakistan on the Kashmir dispute.
When President Barack Obama announced his new strategy for the Afghan war last month, he said Washington is now committed to a partnership with Pakistan based on mutual interests, mutual respect, and mutual trust.