“We would strongly advise our friends in Afghanistan to deal with those who are committed to a peaceful future where their ideas can compete in the political arena through the ballot box, not through the force of arms,” Mrs. Clinton said.
The United States has pushed Pakistan and Afghanistan to improve their often frosty relations and prodded the two countries to seal a landmark trade deal Sunday that was reached after years of negotiation. The pact, which eases restrictions on cross-border transportation, must be ratified by the Afghan Parliament and Pakistani Cabinet.
U.S. officials said they believe it significantly will enhance ties between the two countries, boost development and incomes on both sides of the border, and contribute to the fight against extremists.
While the United States has encourged more trade between the two countries, it has expressed concern about a deal with China that would give energy-starved Pakistan two nuclear power plants. Critics say transferring the reactors would violate international nonproliferation agreements.
Mrs. Clinton said the United States was waiting to receive answers about the deal posed by the Nuclear Suppliers Group before deciding how to proceed. The group restricts nuclear trade with states that have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or don’t have comprehensive safeguards.
Pakistan’s nuclear activities have been a particular area of concern since 2004, when the architect of the country’s nuclear program, A.Q. Khan, confessed to spreading sensitive technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya.
Associated Press writer Sebastian Abbot contributed to this report.
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