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Clinton, Pakistani students in lively exchange

Clinton, Pakistani students in lively exchange

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that Pakistan had little choice but to take a more aggressive approach, starting last summer, to combatting Taliban and other extremist forces that threaten to destabilize the country.
In a lively give-and-take with students at the Government College of Lahore, Clinton said inaction by the government would have amounted to ceding ground to terrorists.
"If you want to see your territory shrink, that's your choice," she said, adding that she believed it would be a bad choice.
Clinton likened Pakistan's situation _ with Taliban forces taking over substantial swaths of land in the Swat valley and in areas along the Afghan border _ to a theoretical advance of terrorists into the United States from across the Canadian border. It would be unthinkable, she said, for the U.S. government to decide, "Let them have Washington (state)" first, then Montana, then the sparsely populated Dakotas, because those states are far from the major centers of population and power on the East Coast.
Clinton was responding to a student who suggested that Washington was forcing Pakistan to use military force on its own territory. It was one of several questions from the students that raised doubts about the relationship between the United States and Pakistan.
During her hour-long appearance at the college, Clinton stressed that a key purpose of her three-day visit to Pakistan, which began Wednesday, was to reach out to ordinary Pakistanis and urge a better effort to bridge differences and improve mutual understanding.
"We are now at a point where we can chart a different course," she said, referring to past differences over an absence of democracy in Pakistan and Pakistani association with the Taliban in Afghanistan.


Updated : 2021-04-23 20:33 GMT+08:00