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'Hillary Clinton was advised to take action against Pak army leaders'

By Lalit K Jha
July 01, 2015 10:30 IST
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Hillary Clinton was advised to quietly take action against Pakistani military leaders who gave support to Al Qaeda and its affiliates, an email sent to her when she was secretary of state shows.

Such an advice was given to Clinton by Samuel Richard "Sandy" Berger, who served as the United States national security advisor for President Bill Clinton from March 14, 1997, until January 20, 2001, as per the email dated October 3, 2009, declassified by the state department on Tuesday.

A tranche of emails of Clinton when she was secretary of state were released late on Tuesday night.

"I believe that coercive measures are more likely to be effective if they are targeted against military leaders who give support to AQ (Al Qaeda) and its allies," Berger said in his email to Clinton, at her request.

"Assuming we have adequate intelligence, we can go after bank accounts, travel and other reachable assets of individual Pakistani officers, raising the stakes for those supporting the militants without creating an inordinate backlash," Berger said.

"Blunter measures of coercion, like conditioning our assistance, are more likely to be counterproductive. Given the level of distrust for us among the Pakistani people, they would see this as another sharp swing of the US pendulum which would harden their attitudes and make greater cooperation very difficult for the Pakistani people to accept," he said.

The state department on Tuesday released some 30,000 e-mails.

Berger, in his email, notes that there may be greater leverage in giving the Pakistanis incentives to be more aggressive.

"Of course, the military's calculation is most important. I'm not sure what is on their shopping list these days but we would need to balance what would move the needle on AQ against undercutting our effort to get them to shift their strategic focus away from India," he wrote.

"At the same time, we can be as forward leaning as possible in support of their counterinsurgency capabilities (equipment, training, whatever material, intelligence and other assistance we can give them if they move into Wazeristan -- including relief for displaced persons). If they finally take that step, we can do all that is possible to demonstrate that our arrows are aligned with theirs," advised Berger.

Some of the e-mails also have mention about India, but these are mostly related to her India travel in 2009.

The e-mails released by the state department are the first batch from a pool of more than 50,000 pages turned over by Clinton from her private email server.

Photograph: Reuters

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