A major U.S. newspaper is reporting that President Obama's new war
strategy for Afghanistan includes expanding Washington's ties with
Pakistan, including additional military and economic cooperation.
The Washington Post reports Mr. Obama sent Pakistan's president a two-page letter earlier this month that pledges a long-term relationship, including more development and trade assistance, improved intelligence collaboration, improved military assistance and more public praise and less public criticism of Pakistan.
The report says the letter also warns the Pakistani government "with unusual bluntness" that it cannot continue using banned militant groups for its policy goals.
The newspaper reports the Obama administration has concluded that U.S. efforts in the region cannot succeed without Pakistan's cooperation. The report says U.S. officials also believe the long-term consequences of failing to counter the militant threat in Pakistan far outweigh failure in Afghanistan.
A senior administration official who requested anonymity told the newspaper that without "changing the nature of U.S.- Pakistan relations in a new direction" the United States will not succeed in Afghanistan.
President Obama has been meeting with his top advisors for months to create a new strategy in Afghanistan. On Tuesday he is scheduled to make a public statement outlining his new policy.
The Washington Post reports that while most of the public attention has focused on the number of additional U.S. troops Mr. Obama plans to send to Afghanistan, the situation in Pakistan has been at the core of the deliberations.
On Sunday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged Pakistani leaders to take tougher action against al Qaida militants in their country.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani responded to the call on Monday, saying that Mr. Brown's request seemed "out of context" because Pakistan has already made more sacrifices in the war against terrorism than NATO countries fighting in Afghanistan.
Mr. Gilani is scheduled to meet with Mr. Brown in London on Thursday.