Obama’s New Af-Pak Policy Has No Blank Cheque for Kabul

In a strict warning to Afghanistan government, US President Barack Obama has said that no more blank cheques will be given to Kabul and it needs to show progress not merely in governance but also in providing security to its own people.

“This effort must be based on performance. The days of providing a blank cheques are over,” said Obama during his speech at West Point Military Academy in New York, where he announced his new Af-Pak policy.

“President Karzai’s inauguration speech sent the right message about moving in a new direction. And going forward, we will be clear about what we expect from those who receive our assistance,” he said.

Obama said that the US would back and help Afghan Ministries, Governors, and local leaders who fight corruption and deliver for the people.

“We expect those who are ineffective or corrupt to be held accountable. And we will also focus our assistance in areas such as agriculture that can make an immediate impact in the lives of the Afghan people,” the president said.

He observed that Afghani people have tolerated violence for decades and been confronted with occupation of the Soviet Union, and then by foreign al Qaeda militants who used Afghan land for their own purposes.

“So tonight, I want the Afghan people to understand America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering. We have no interest in occupying your country,” Obama clarified.

“We will support efforts by the Afghan government to open the door to those Taliban who abandon violence and respect the human rights of their fellow citizens,” he said.

“And we will seek a partnership with Afghanistan grounded in mutual respect to isolate those who destroy; to strengthen those who build; to hasten the day when our troops will leave; and to forge a lasting friendship in which America is your partner, and never your patron,” Obama said.

While announcing a time frame of transition with the withdrawal of troops beginning in 18 months, Obama said: “It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security, and that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan.

“The absence of a timeframe for transition would deny the US any sense of urgency in working with the Afghan government,” he argued

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