|November 26, 2012
As the United States prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan, regional economic integration is essential for the long-term strategy for the country, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday.
"Forging stronger economic ties across this region is a key element in our long-term strategy for Afghanistan. If you look at the map, you see why Afghanistan has been fought over and part of the great game for so many generations because of its very strategic position," she said.
Delivering a speech on "Economic Statecraft" at the Singapore Management University, Clinton said her vision of the New Silk Road, a web of trade and transportation links reaching from Central Asia to India.
"Even as we move forward with the security transition under ISAF in 2014 and the end of our coalition combat mission, we are focused on shoring up Afghanistan's economic future, because we know that, without that, stability and security will certainly be elusive," she added.
This is a point that has too often been missed in serious foreign policy debates, according to the secretary, who said the hard work of economic development might not be glamorous, but it was essential even in war zones."And certainly, the increasing economic relationship between India and Pakistan is good news, first and foremost for the Pakistani and Indian businesspeople and consumers, but more generally with the hope that those kinds of ties can lead to even greater cooperation in the future," Clinton said. (Pajhwok)