U.S. Military, Joint Chiefs of Staff | 29 July 2010
Pentagon Press Conference
As Delivered by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense , Pentagon Briefing Room Thursday, July 29, 2010
Q: British Prime Minister David Cameron said today that he can’t tolerate the idea that Pakistan is allowed to look both ways and is able to promote the export of terrorism, is what he said. Does the U.S. think that the Pakistani government is looking the other way in – from the allegations made in the WikiLeaks documents?
SEC. GATES: Well, what I – what I will tell you – and the chairman’s just returned from there, and I certainly want him to address this issue – what I have seen over the past 18 months to two years is a Pakistani government that has become increasingly aggressive in taking on terrorists in the western part of their – in the northwestern part of their country. They have 140,000 troops in that area. If you had asked me would they be aggressively pursuing the Taliban in South Waziristan a year or two ago, I would have thought that impossible.So I think what we have seen, and one of the reasons why these documents are dated, is that in the last 18 months or so there has been a dramatic change, in my view, in Pakistan’s willingness to take on insurgents and terrorists, their willingness to put their own military at risk and take casualties in going after this. And our cooperation has been steadily expanding.I’ve talked – over the last three-and-a-half years, I have talked about the fact that one of the challenges the U.S. has faced in both Afghanistan and Pakistan is that they vividly remember us walking out in 1989, and being left to deal with their own security situation on their own. The notion that, under those circumstances and not knowing whether they could count on us to be there – the notion that they would hedge in one way or another is not a surprise. And it is something that I have talked about ever since I – ever since I got this job.But, again, the point that I would make is I think we are rebuilding that relationship of trust with Pakistan, and it is evident in the expansion of cooperation that we have had with them, both in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency.ADM. MULLEN: I think the heart of your question goes to the ISI. And specifically – and I’ve said before and would repeat that it’s an organization that, actually, we have, in ways, a very positive relationship, very healthy relationship between our intelligence organizations.And there have been – that said, there have been elements of the ISI that have got relationships – a relationship with extremist organizations, and that we – you know, I, we, consider that unacceptable. In the long run, I think that the ISI has to strategically shift its – tied in great part to what the secretary’s laid out – focused on its view of its own national-security interests.These are issues that – and I have seen some of this; I was just with Gen. Kayani again, and this is a subject we frequently discuss. And they have, as the secretary said, in that country, captured lots of terrorists, killed lots of terrorists, focused on terrorism. And they are strategically shifting.
That doesn’t mean that they are through that shift at all, and they do still – they are still focused on rebuilding this trust as well, and it is not yet rebuilt.
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