Stabilising AFPAK, defeating Qaeda 'hell of a process' but US committed: Biden

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Washington, Dec.16 (ANI): Terming the establishment of peace in the AFPAK region as "a hell of process", US Vice President Joe Biden has said stabilising Pakistan and defeating Al Qaeda are America's main strategic interests in South Asia, and that it is committed to achieving its target.

In an interview to the MSNBC television channel, Biden said President Obama had clearly laid out Washington's interests in the AFPAK region, which was 'defeating Al Qaeda and stabilising Pakistan.'

Biden pointed out that the Obama administration would continue to work with Pakistan, so that Islamabad work sincerely to target Washington's primary concern in the region, which includes the Haqqani network and the Taliban.

"Over the next two years, the US would provide more direct assistance to Pakistan as it relates to stabilising their economy, building their infrastructure, as well as getting them to move on our mutual interest, which includes the Haqqani network and includes the Taliban in Pakistan," The Dawn quoted Biden, as saying.

Biden's statement comes a day after Pakistani officials apparently snubbed the White House over its demands of dismantling the Haqqani network.

According to a Pakistani official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Islamabad sees Haqqani and his control of large areas of Afghan territory vital to Pakistan in the jostling for influence that will pit Pakistan, India, Russia, China and Iran against one another in the post-American Afghan scenario.

During the television when one of the participants interrupted Biden, saying: "Defeating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is also one of America's main objectives in that region." The Vice President replied: "Al Qaeda's not in Afghanistan."

Biden highlighted that Al-Qaeda's presence in Pakistan and the threat to that country's nuclear establishments were also of prime concern for the US.

"And our focus should be Pakistan and Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Pakistan's nuclear weapons," he said.

He stressed that while the Pakistani Army has been claiming that it has hit the extremists in the Swat Valley hard, there's more to be done to root out the militants from the region.

"Are they doing enough? No, but it's amazing ... how reality has a way of intruding on people's plans. When they (the Taliban) went and took the Swat Valley, all of a sudden the Pakistanis went, whoa, they're 60 clicks from Islamabad!" Biden said. (ANI)

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