WASHINGTON: The United States wants Pakistan’s cooperation in formulating its future counter-terrorism strategy for Afghanistan and the rest of South Asia, the White House said on Sunday.

Briefing the media on President Barack Obama’s surprise visit to Kabul earlier in the day, his Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said the US had not yet decided how many troops to keep in Afghanistan after 2014 but all US allies in the region would be consulted before making any major decision.

“We’ve been looking broadly at counter-terrorism and how do you have a counter-terrorism strategy in Afghanistan, in South Asia, in cooperation with Pakistan that keeps Al Qaeda core on its heels,” said Mr Rhodes.

A transcript released by the White House quoted Mr Rhodes as saying that while preparing a future counter-terrorism strategy, the United States would also see “how does it fit into the broader counter-terrorism challenge across the entire region all the way to North Africa.”

The president is expected to highlight some aspects of this strategy in a policy speech next month.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2014

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