New York, Feb.21 (ANI): In the coming weeks, President Barack Obama will have to look at ways to convince Pakistan that the fight against extremists in that country and in neighboring Afghanistan is not a favor being done to the United States, but an exercise aimed at ensuring Pakistan's own survival, both in the short and long term.
Obama will have to grapple with a series of very difficult questions, the answers to which will eventually define his administration's success or failure in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, an editorial in the New York Post has said.
Obama, according to the editorial, will have to consider whether to keep supporting a central government in Kabul or focus more on cultivating local leaders.
The rampant corruption of President Hamid Karzai's government has driven far too many Afghans back to the extremists.
Obama has said that he is open to talks with some Afghan militants.
In recent weeks, American commanders said they are expanding contacts with so-called moderate members of the Taliban. At this point, there may be no other choice.
The editorial says that Obama and his team must quickly come up with a plan to expand and train the Afghan Army (which eventually must replace American and NATO troops) and police force, curb a 720 million dollar Afghan opium industry that finances the Taliban and encourage development along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
He will also have to figure out a way to persuade NATO allies to send more troops - with orders to fight - and more money.
The editorial says the new American president has rock star ratings in Europe, and therefore, needs to leverage some of that to get leaders there to finally ante up.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, that nuclear-armed country faces terrifying problems: political and economic instability, home-grown extremists who are far too cozy with Pakistan's intelligence services, a lawless border region used by the Taliban to execute bloody attacks on Afghanistan.
This week the government effectively ceded the Swat Valley - which is in the border region but just 100 miles from Islamabad - to militants in a misguided bid for a false peace.
The White House's decision to invite senior Pakistani and Afghan officials to Washington next week is very welcome. Saudi Arabia, Iran and India must also be involved, says the editorial. (ANI)