ISLAMABAD, Dec 19: There is no substitute to a political solution in Afghanistan, and military action alone is not enough to bring an end to the conflict, said James Larocco, director of the Near East South Asia (Nesa) Centre for Strategic Studies in Washington and a former ambassador, at a roundtable discussion at the Jinnah Institute, on Wednesday, in Islamabad.

“Militaries don’t solve problems. Essentially you have to address political issues, and you have to address economic issues. Without addressing the two, militaries accomplish nothing,” he said

Participants in the discussion included former Pakistan ambassador Sarwar Naqvi, Irfan Malik of the Washington D.C. based USPAK Foundation, senior journalists Ejaz Haider, Mariana Babar and Farrukh Pitafi, Arshi Saleem Hashmi from the National Defence University and Lt Gen (retired) Talat Masood.

The roundtable focused on the state of Afghanistan, U.S.-Pakistan relations and the way forward in resolving the issues that have plagued the relationship.

Larocco said that Pakistan and the United States both know what they want to achieve in terms of aiding the peace process in Afghanistan, but do not know how to get there. “We both know where we want to go and where we want to be. But it’s difficult to define clearly for either of us how to get there,” he said.

Participants agreed that greater people-to-people contacts were necessary for strengthening the relationship, so that Pakistan and the United States better understand each other.