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Pak has shown signs of willingness to transform: Kerry

Lalit K Jha in Washington | February 06, 2009 15:11 IST

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Influential United States Senator John Kerry, who heads the congressional committee responsible for American foreign policy, has said that Pakistan's president, army chief and the Inter-Services Intelligence are showing encouraging signs of transformation and taking the terrorists head on.

"I have found that President Asif Ali Zardari [Images] is very committed to trying to increase the accountability and to move in the direction of taking action against the terrorists," said Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He was intervening at a round-table debate on Afghanistan at the US Senate in Washington when one of the speakers said that the ISI needs to be brought under the Pakistan civilian government's control.

"I also find that both the ISI Chief General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, and the Pakistan Army [Images] Chief General Ashfaq Kayani are likewise committed," Kerry said.

"In my conversations with the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen [Images] and with the other players, there is a sense of some transformation," Kerry said.

The former Australian special forces commando and counter- terrorism adviser to former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice [Images], David Kilcullen, had said that various attempts have been made to bring the ISI under government control but it's just too powerful for the civilian politicians to break it up.

"So, we need to really encourage the Pakistani politicians to do that, and we need to assist Pakistan, conditional on its performance in dealing with the Taliban [Images]," Kilcullen said.

"We pay around about $120 million a month in something called the coalition support funds, which are supposed to go towards helping Pakistan control the Taliban and deal with the al Qaeda, and a variety of other things," he said.

"Historically, it hasn't actually been spent primarily on that sort of task. We need to really start putting some conditionality on that, saying it's not just a blank check," Kilcullen suggested.

"We do have enemies in the ISI, we have enemies in the Pakistan national security establishment, we have enemies in the Pakistan military, and we have other people who are neither our friends nor our enemies but they're just following their own interests that intersect badly with ours," he said.

However, differing on the issue, Kerry said that "The Pakistan army is taking on the bad folks who are numerous including the networks of the Hakani and Baitullah Mehsud, besides the Taliban and the al Qaeda in the western part of the country."

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