Hillary says Pakistan, Afghanistan will be Obama’s highest priority

Hillary says Pakistan, Afghanistan will be Obama’s highest priorityWashington, Jan 14 : US Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton told her confirmation hearing that fighting terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan would be the highest priority of the Obama Administration.

"It is imperative that we work with our friends in both Pakistan and Afghanistan" to defeat terrorists in that region, she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"The democratically elected government in Pakistan seems to be much more aware (than the previous government) of how this is their fight, not just ours," Dawn quoted Hillary, as saying.

Both President-elect Barack Obama and Senator Clinton believe that the United States should make a more focussed commitment to stabilize Afghanistan and to push Pakistan to eliminate the so-called terrorist safe havens in FATA.

Senator John Kerry, the committee's new chairman, agreed with her, saying that "Pakistan and Afghanistan are definitively the front line of our global counter-terrorism efforts."

Kerry said in an interview on Monday that as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he would push for tripling non-military US aid to Pakistan, putting that country and Afghanistan at the top of his panel's agenda in the new Congress.

In his opening statement in Senator Clinton's confirmation hearing, Senator Kerry also stressed the need for establishing a stable state in Afghanistan.

In her written statement to the committee, Clinton noted that the 70 days since the US presidential election offered fresh evidence of the urgency of the challenges confronting the United States.

She listed the new conflict in Gaza and terrorist attacks in Mumbai on the top of her list of new challenges that will test the Obama administration.

Senator Clinton noted that Obama had called the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan the central front in the fight against terrorism. (ANI)