March 2nd, 2009
08:17 AM ET
5 years ago

Gates calls Pakistan 'most worrisome'

 Afghan and U.S. soldiers walk at the site of a suicide attack outside Jalalabad in Nangarhar province Sunday.
Afghan and U.S. soldiers walk at the site of a suicide attack outside Jalalabad in Nangarhar province Sunday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The "most worrisome" part of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan has become the havens the Taliban and other insurgents have carved out in neighboring Pakistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.

Gates said the United States had a similar perch in Pakistan when U.S. and Pakistani officials supported Afghanistan's mujahedeen rebels against the Soviet Union in the 1980s - "and let me tell you, it made a big difference."

"I think as long as they have a safe haven to operate there, it's going to be a problem for us in Afghanistan," he told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

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Filed under: Robert Gates
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. is that so wrong

    NUKE 'em

    March 2, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Ignorance

    McCain knows where Osama is remember! Call him so he can tell Gates and lets end this war!

    March 2, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  3. AEK

    Admittedly I am not an expert on all things military, but it would seem that with all the money we are spending on this "anti terrorist" effort there would have to be a way of isolating the threat politically and economically and not to always rely on a military approach. If the lessons of the Russian military taught us anything it should have been that pacifying that area by force was not a viable option. FIrst of all, those folks have no real regard for human life so killing several thousand more young Americans is not an issue or is hiding your fighters in elementary schools and mosques. They have as little regard for their own people's suffering as they do for us. If our goal is to somehow interdict the opium trafficking, that is not working out that well either. Just seems like we need to explore other avenues with the technology we have available to us.

    March 2, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. lushrush

    How can I buy into the fedreserve,the worlds biggest private bank.They stand make trillions when a total collapse occurs?

    March 2, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. stu

    President Obama who I think is just the bees knees will bring peace there just as he is bringing peace to Iraq and saving us from Bush's financial disasters. The best part is that I am in that 95% of people who won't have to pay for it!

    Yes we did!

    Thank you President Obama I love you!

    March 2, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. greg in jax

    does the word "duh" mean anything ..

    and of course pakistan is worrisome, they are now recognizing the taliban as a legitimate policital organization, the same way afghanistan did... and you see what that kind of power did, osama bin laden and al queda a safe haven and launching point for terrorist attacks on the west.. if only we had gone to war against terror after september 11, 2001 ... oh thats right, we did, or at least that is what we were told..

    March 2, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. MurphyMorseJohnson

    If the true base of Muslim terrorism is along the Afghan-Pakistani border, use of technology in place of man-to-man warfare would make the altercation quick and cost effective.

    March 2, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. greg in jax

    rush is a fat hypocritical junkie... and the mouthpiece for republicans, yet another reason not to be a republican, the hypocrisy

    March 2, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  9. Rick

    Bush is gone. It's all on Obama now and, so far, he's failing the test.

    March 2, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. The Bu

    NEWSFLASH!!!!!

    I thought the purpose of the "war" in Afghanistan was to hunt down Osama Bin Laden! Or am I mistaken? That, and also routing out the Taliban are our only mission. Until we accomplish both of them, there is no "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner that will be waived. The war is not with Afghanistan, it is with Bin Laden and the Taliban. We CAN beat them!! And yes, KILL them!!!

    March 2, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Justin

    Add Somalia to the "most worrisome" list – another country that has made concessions to islamic militants and allowed them to establish sharia law, just like the Taliban. And we know there are members of Al Qaeda in Somalia. We can't do anything about it, of course – we don't have the money or the military resources. In fact we are so strapped that we had to ask Ethiopia to step in for us to throw out the Islamic militants, which they did, temporarily. So, if I have my math right, in 2001, Al Qaeda had its base of operations in one country, Afghanistan, courtesy of the Taliban. Now they are taking root in two. Thank you, George W. Bush.

    March 2, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. FreeNLovIt

    Yeah, these Pakistanis are Jackyl-Hyde. They're rogue muslims. They're so unstable. I dont know who the h*ll gave them NUKE capability.

    March 2, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. Frank

    Well we now have Obama's war

    Lets see if the left wing bash their empty suit of a president over Afghanistan, after all he is doing such a bang up job on the economy and using the dowturn so well to push forth his redistribution of wealth and socialist agenda

    Take the time to read his books, I cant wait for people to be working so hard and see their paycheck cut in half if not more that voted for him to support some welfare food stamp mother

    March 2, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. no corporate politics

    The sad thing is Obama (quietly) told people about his war intentions. However he was also very deceptive – look how many of the faithful followers seem upset now.

    He is a smart lawyer – he did that on purpose! He knew if he yelled "Iraq" enough people would glaze over and murmur "peace president, peace president, ........"

    That is as good as a lie!

    March 2, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. thomas

    Pakistan presents a real dilemma, doesn't it. Even Bush was afraid to breach it's borders with the Bush Doctrine. If the US enters Pakistan in pursuit of Bin Laden and Al Queda, the mountains provide a near impenetrable fortress and there is a risk of military confrontation with Pakistan. However, if the US pulls out there is a strong likelihood that Afghanistan will be overrun but the Taliban and Pakistan could fall to rebel forces within their borders. This is a conflict that cannot be resolved unilaterally by the US. This is a matter for the United Nations. The rest of the world has to understand that the US iwill no loger be the world's policeman. Peace can only be realized if every nation takes an active role in preserving it.

    March 2, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Susan

    RAG explained it much better.

    March 2, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. Angi's mom

    War is not healthy for children and other living things.

    March 2, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. Afghan American Voice

    If you want to win in Afghanistan

    1) Understand that Pakistan is playing a double game
    2) Attack Taliban and Al-Qaida hideouts inside Pakistan
    3) Support a true leader of Afghan people rather than Karzai that went there from Virginia
    4) Help Afghan people in education, reconstruction and economy
    5) Attack poppy fields that is by far the major financial supply line of Taliban and Al-Qaida and their Pakistani supporters that make major profits on this (estimated $50 billion per year business).

    March 2, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Bob from Michigan

    As ridiculous as this might sound but we CONTINUE to believe that helping Pakistan WILL help us achieve this goal of decimating Taliban in Pakistan and this is plain and simple STUPID... Reason: Pakistan state / Government is FULL and INFESTED with the radicals and Islamic Fanatics and 85% of the funds are in fact going to strengthen the Al Quaida and the terrorists....

    SOLUTION: Follow the example of Iraq. In fact, if not for Bush's ego and stupid policies, we should have quarantined Pakistan instead of Iraq!!

    March 2, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. JonDie

    Although Mr. Gates was one of Bush's only cabinet secretaries smart enough to understand the differences between Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the damage to our abilitiy to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban was PERMANENTLY damaged by Bush's follies.

    March 2, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. Jon in CA

    Obama = loose cannon.

    He promises during the Presidential compaign to bomb Pakistan, a standing nuclear power, if they would not follow HIS orders.

    I'd be worried about Pakistan too, if I were Gates!!

    March 2, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. JonDie

    To Joe the Troll:
    "...didn't McCain say that Pakistan was a stanch ally?"

    Beam yourself back up to the mother ship now; your mission on Earth is over.

    McCain referred to Iran and Iraq interchangeably as if they were the same country.

    McCain referred to Spain as a part of Latin America.

    McCain referred to Spain, which has troops on the ground in Afghanistan and which allows our troops to use Spanish bases as "not our friend."

    We're lucky that McCain wasn't elected; we've be invading Spain to overthrow Hugo Chavez.

    March 2, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. DazedAndConfused

    "Admittedly I am not an expert on all things military, but it would seem that with all the money we are spending on this "anti terrorist" effort there would have to be a way of isolating the threat politically and economically and not to always rely on a military approach. If the lessons of the Russian military taught us anything it should have been that pacifying that area by force was not a viable option. FIrst of all, those folks have no real regard for human life so killing several thousand more young Americans is not an issue or is hiding your fighters in elementary schools and mosques. They have as little regard for their own people's suffering as they do for us. If our goal is to somehow interdict the opium trafficking, that is not working out that well either. Just seems like we need to explore other avenues with the technology we have available to us."

    What!? How dare you bring LOGIC onto these comment sections? Who do you think you are, Einstein? ;)

    March 2, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. Charles Atlanta

    Bush lost the golden opportunity in Afganistan when we got in initially. Then he changed the priority to deal with Iraq and let alone problem in Afganistan to grow into an uncontrollable stage. Now Obama has to deal with this inherited mess with little chance to succeed. Guess what, as some GOP said, it is Obama's problem now. GOP is completed useless and irresponsible.

    March 2, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. joeb

    I am sick of reading this crap. We seem to be the only (or almost only) nation to be spending serious money and sending serious numbers of military folk to these places. Where the hell is the rest of the world? It seems to me that most of them are just as affected by this mess as we are.

    March 2, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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