Pak must shun India 'obsession', Afghan 'meddling' 'bad habits': Obama

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Washington, May 13 (ANI): Noting Pakistan's 'obsession' with India, US President Barack Obama has said that Islamabad must shun the 'bad' custom of viewing its neighbouring nation as a primary threat and realise that it was extremists emanating from its own soil that are threatening the country's very existence.

Speaking during a joint press conference with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Obama pointed out that his administration was working both with the Pakistani and Afghan leadership to help them do away with some of their 'bad habits' and old suspicions.

While describing Pakistan's obsession with India as one of its 'bad habits', he acknowledged that Islamabad is now slowly overcoming the practice.

"I think there has been in the past a view on the part of Pakistan that their primary rival, India, was their only concern," The Dawn quoted Obama, as saying.

"What you've seen over the last several months is a growing recognition that they have a cancer in their midst; that the extremist organisations that have been allowed to congregate and use as a base the frontier areas to then go into Afghanistan, that now threatens Pakistan's sovereignty," he added.

Responding to a comment of an Afghan journalist that Pakistan was the "the only reason that Afghanistan was not civilised today", the US President said Washington was determined to help improve relations between Islamabad and Kabul.

"Our goal is to break down some of the old suspicions and the old bad habits and continue to work with the Pakistani government to see their interest in a stable Afghanistan which is free from foreign meddling," he said.

During the briefing, Karzai was asked about reconciliation with the Taliban, to which he replied that there are "thousands of Taliban who are not against Afghanistan or against the Afghan people or their country; who are not against America either or the rest of the world".

Karzai said there are many Afghan Taliban who wanted to come back if provided an opportunity and political means to do so.

"It's this group of the Taliban that you're addressing in the peace Jirga. It is this group that is our intention," he said.

Without mentioning Pakistan, the Afghan President said that the Taliban being controlled from 'outside' were increasing troubles for his country. (ANI)

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