Even as she came out strongly against the Pakistani establishment for lagging willingness to take head on the terrorists, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said that the US was also partly responsible for the present mess as it virtually abandoned Pakistan after the Soviets left Afghanistan.
"There is a very strong argument, which is: It wasn't a bad investment to end the Soviet Union, but let's be careful what we sow, because we will harvest. So we then left Pakistan. We said, okay, fine, you deal with the Stingers that we've left all over your country. You deal with the mines that are along the border. And by the way, we don't want to have anything to do with you," Clinton said testifying before a Congressional committee.
After the downfall of the Soviet Union, Clinton said the US stopped dealing with the Pakistani military and with the ISI.
"We can point fingers at the Pakistanis, which is -- you know, I did some yesterday, frankly. And it's merited, because we're wondering why they don't just get out there and deal with these people. But the problems we face now, to some extent, we have to take responsibility for having contributed to," she said.
Clinton said the US has a history of moving in and out of Pakistan. "I mean, let's remember here, the people we are fighting today we funded 20 years ago. We did it because we were locked in this struggle with the Soviet Union. They invaded Afghanistan, and we did not want to see them control Central Asia, and we went to work," she said.
"It was President (Ronald) Reagan, in partnership with the Congress, led by Democrats, who said, you know what? Sounds like a pretty good idea. Let's deal with the ISI and the Pakistani military, and let's go recruit these mujahidin. And great, let's get some to come from Saudi Arabia and other places, importing their Wahhabi brand of Islam, so that we can go beat the Soviet Union. And guess what? They retreated. They lost billions of dollars, and it led to the collapse of the Soviet Union," Clinton said.
And what is happening in Pakistan today is a result of that policy, she acknowledged, so the US should also take a part of the responsibility.