Obama aides acknowledge Pakistan’s progress toward political stability, anti-militant success


Washington : The White House officials are making a case for a narrow war effort in insurgency-hit Afghanistan and stress sustained support for key ally Pakistan, which has achieved more political stability and challenged Taliban militants effectively, according to a report Friday.

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The Washington Post reported as top American advisers weighed various options for a way forward in Afghanistan, that White House aides welcomed progress in Pakistan in terms of anti-militant success and political stabilization.

Several senior Obama advisers argued this week that two significant events since then have changed the calculus on the ground, the Post reported.

“The Pakistani government’s decision to reinstate Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry as the Supreme Court chief justice—his removal had been a major source of domestic tension—and challenge the Taliban insurgency in the Swat Valley has brought more stability to the administration of President Asif Ali Zardari,” White House officials say.

At the same time, the tainted August 20 presidential election in Afghanistan has cast doubt on the legitimacy of President Hamid Karzai’s administration, the newspaper reported.

“Eight months ago, if you had asked people which was worse, everybody would have said Pakistan is worse and Afghanistan is in good shape,” one senior Obama adviser said.

“Today we find out they had an election that wasn’t clean, the Taliban is doing qualitatively better than we presumed and Pakistan is doing so much better,” the aide added according to the newspaper.

On Afghanistan, the newspaper said the White House officials are making a case for a narrow war effort that would focus more military training of the Afghan forces, although no definitive decisions have been reached on formulating a strategy.

Top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan Stanley McChrystal and other military officers favor the option of troops surge while senior White House aides do not want a large escalation.