The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan created a political storm this week when he said that two leading opposition politicians would form a “pro-U.S. government” if either becomes prime minister in next year’s elections.
Ambassador Cameron Munter told the Urdu-language service of the BBC that he met recently with Nawaz Sharif, leader of the center-right Pakistan Muslim League-N, and Imran Khan, head of the center-left Movement for Justice party.
“They assured me that their parties fully support the United States,” he said.
His comments added more tension to the U.S.-Pakistani relations, already strained by U.S. drone attacks on terrorist targets in Pakistan. His words also surprised Mr. Khan, who has been strongly critical of Pakistan’s cooperation with the United States in the war on terrorism.
Mr. Cameron “either misunderstood or misquoted my discussion with him regarding Pak-U.S. relations,” Mr. Khan told Pakistani reporters on Wednesday. “I am not against the United States … but just against their policies on the war on terror.”
He added that “war is not the answer to terrorism.”
In his BBC interview, Mr. Munter also called on Pakistan to develop “complete control over its territories,” a reference to a lawless northwest border region where Taliban militants launch attacks against NATO troops in Afghanistan.
His interview appeared a week after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton apologized for a U.S. attack on a Pakistani border post in November and Pakistan reopened NATO supply routes it had shut down in protest.
TALIBAN CAN’T WIN
U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker in Kabul expressed doubts of an outbreak of a civil war after the United States withdraws its troops by 2014.
“I tend to consider those unlikely scenarios,” he told the Associated Press on Thursday in the first of several farewell interviews he has granted before retiring later this month.
“Politics is breaking out all over. You don’t see many people saying, ‘Well, it’s time to start digging trenches again.’”
At least one top Taliban leaders agrees.
OUR MAN IN MYANMAR
Derek Mitchell this week took his new assignment as the first U.S. ambassador to Myanmar in more than 20 years.
Mr. Mitchell arrived in Yangoon, the former capital, and traveled immediately to Nay Pyi Taw, the new capital, to present his diplomatic credential to President Thein Sein.
The last U.S. ambassador, career diplomat Burton Levin, was withdrawn in 1990 to protest the crackdown on democratic activists by a military government.
The restoration of full diplomatic ties followed the released of democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi in November and parliamentary elections in April.
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James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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