March 29th, 2009
11:07 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama: U.S. remains prepared to pursue targets in Pakistan

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The president discussed Pakistan during a television appearance Sunday."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Sunday that his administration remains prepared to order strikes against "high-value" targets within Pakistan.

Obama reiterated a previous assertion that the U.S. military would pursue extremists within Pakistan's borders after consulting with the Pakistani government.

The U.S. policy doesn't change American recognition of Pakistan's "sovereign government," Obama said during an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation." But the United States needs to hold that government "more accountable."

"This is going to be hard," he added. "I'm under no illusions."

Obama said his administration remains determined to weaken or destroy al Qaeda until it no longer presents a threat to the United States.

He added that his administration is prepared to constantly adjust its strategy in Pakistan and Afghanistan as necessary.

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Filed under: Pakistan • President Obama
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. JJ in NY

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Looks like President Bush was right all along .

    March 29, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Andy

    Nintendo war. Triggering weapons from half a world a way is no way to win hearts and minds in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The president should know better than to continue to enrage average (not fundamentalist) people in the region by belligerently insisting that the U.S. has a right to drop bombs anywhere he decides is a 'high value target.' The reality is that the U.S. will not be able to acquire anything resembling certainty about the 'value' of targets unless it has a lot of well trained, culturally informed spies all over the region. There's very little to suggest that this type of covert footwork is being done. Instead what we are told are 'high value targets' may be about as sure as the poor men who were rounded up by opportunistic warlords and sold to the Americans as 'enemy combatants' in 2002.

    March 29, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Erfan

    Pakistan and US were fighting against Soviet Union in Afghanistan. That is why Pakistan's ISI and US founded Taliaban.

    March 29, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. JKeshav

    To begin with, let me tell you folks that US's policy towards Pakistan has been wrong from day one. Instead of going after the problem directly, the source was fed with billions of tax-payers dollars. Let me clarify. Pakistan has been the hub of terrorism for a long while. Many acts of terrorism from the Mumbai attacks to the first bombing the World Trade Center in New York emanated from Pakistan. To eloborate on this as a reminder the attack in Fairfax, VA on CIA employees was done by a Pakistani. The man involved in the first WTC bombing was a Pakistani. The brains behind 9/11 attacks were Pakistanis and the funds too came from there. The most recent was the carnage in Mumbai. The plans, funds and the terrorists came from Pakistan. All these acts were done with collobaration with ISI, the secret svc wing of Pakistani govt.
    So in my view taking on Iraq after 9/11 was totally wrong. Attacking Afghanistan is understable. But the main culprit has been fed with money & arms in the names of stability and 'war on terror'. It is time that the American citizens and the govt wake up to these facts. Pakistan is the hub for terrorism and that should tackled by like minds in US, India, Russia & Israel.

    March 29, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Bryan

    In truth, it is a shame that Bill Clinton dropped the ball for eight years with respect to killing Bin Laden..... But of course, the Dems don't remember that ....

    March 29, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. Amir Durrani

    Read former CIA division leader, Michael Scheuer's books in the following order 1. Imperial Hubris 2. Marching Towards Hell and 3. Through Our Enemies Eyes. Shiv Danush should re-read his sources. Its not about conquering Afghanistan.... its about KEEPING Afghanistan conquered that has never been done. Furthermore, when Shiv talks about denuking Pakistan, perhaps he should investigate the anti muslim Hinduvatu rhetoric in his own nuclear armed country before talking. Once that is gotten rid off then peace will come.

    March 29, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. Adam

    A) We're not invading the Afhanis... we are getting the Taliban out. This is something NO ONE has ever tried. All these conquerors that people mention were trying to invade and conquer the country, we're not.

    B) Islam is not that problem at all. 99.9% of all believers in Islam are decent, loving, kind and caring people who want the best for their families. RADICAL Islam is the problem. Just like radical anything becomes a problem.

    March 29, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. Simmy


    Iraq is the new Viet Nam. We are already there. It's up to President Obama and his administration to go in with a winning strategy. I think they have one.

    March 29, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. Layman

    I think that US should help (just intelligence and trust, not monetary or force) India in fighting terrorism, rather than wasting billions of money on Pakistan. All that money is ending up with terrorists (operating in Kashmir) and pockets of Pakistani politicians.

    March 29, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. sn

    We have the right to strike any where, any time in Pakistan. Just as Al-Quaida did in the past.

    Pakis will never give up Osama. Al-Quida is the cash cow for Pakis sustainment. Pakis General and ISI feed off the cash we are pouring over the past 40 yrs. Go to Pakistan and see how any ex or current Paki lives if he or she had/has any connection with Army establisment.

    If you know the history of Pakis, they have been the holding the "bowl" since its independence in 1947. It started with Brits, US, Saudis, and if everything shuts down the next big donor is China to maintian the bad influence in the region. -Shaw

    March 29, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. justwondering

    Erfan, just wondering about yor comment. Since when Pakistan has been a stable country? Am I missing something?

    March 29, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Joe

    Bryan – that was before 9/11/01 – And by the way, Clinton did lauch an offensive in 1998 with that very purpose as the intended result.

    March 29, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. Ted Carson

    The British and the Soviet armies could not accomplish what Obama is setting out to do. Afganistan has little in the way of organized societies unlike Iraq. Canada will be leaving in 2011. They realize that this is not a war that can be won in the traditional sense.

    It's funny that it was JFK a young President that got them involded in Vietnam. The 50,000 tired troops in Afganistan will not be enough. The war will continue to kill and harm many young Americans while Nato nations sit on the side lines

    Welcome to my den said the spider to the fly.

    I thought Obama was going to bring the troups home .

    What is the exit stargagy..?

    March 29, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  14. Jake

    We will never destroy terrorism unless we go after its ROOTS! What are the roots of terror??? ONE WORD... I S L A M !!! PERIOD

    When the world wakes up and realizes that this doctrine is the cause of most of the terror in the world today and either completely REFORM the QURAN or delete is completely, we will never stop terrorism. A NEW Bin Laden will surface, a new SADDAM will surface. As long as children are brainwashed to believe that any non believer should be completely subdued, taxed or KILLED, we will never see peace!

    March 29, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Patrick

    " There's very little to suggest that this type of covert footwork is being done. "

    If there was 'much to suggest that' , it wouldn't be very covert, now would it ?

    March 29, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. Matinez

    I have taken world politics courses and I am of the opinion that Pakistan should be viewed with the same lens as Afghanistan. Both are failed states. The government in pakistan is inept and in complete control of the military. Moreover Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism with its military and ISI aiding Taliban and Al Qaeda who are causing problems on both sides of its border (with Afganistan and India). We know this because our own government agencies like FBI and CIA have confirmed it, but still we treat Pakistan somehow diffrently as compared to other state sponsors of terror, like Syria or Iran. I just don't get it. Clean Pakistan and take control of their nukes and this world will be far far better.

    March 29, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. Milind Ektare

    Accountable! Who? Pakistan?
    A big joke. To run Pakistan, they want $. Get US aid. 50% of the $ goes to politicians, 25% to ISI. From ISI the route is either Laskar or Taliban. After bread, Pkaistan needs anti-Indian spirits to survive.

    < 10% goes to military fighting with Al-kaida/Taliban so that next lot of aid should come. If Pakistan shows accountability, they stop their incomming bread, hence not possible. Who will stop his own bread? Instead they can afford kill their own soldiers in the hands of Taliban, but not inform about the know hows US wants.

    March 29, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. Cato

    It is really easy to apply post 9/11 concerns to pre 9/11 situations. Using the intelligence that he had, he tried on several occasions to take him out with cruise missles. Sending in troops at that time would not have played well at all with the American people. NOW....we'd ALL be for it.

    The ball was dropped when the intelligence estimate said that Bin Laden was planning on striking within the U.S. And that was in August, 2001 under VIce President Cheney.

    March 29, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. Cato


    The first involvement in Vietnam was advisors sent in by Eisenhower. Kennedy wanted out.

    March 29, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. Cougcoop

    What people in America need to realize is the face of world politics has changed since the development of nuclear weapons and of modern terrorism. Since America's conversion to an empire after the end of civil war, America began it's role as a hegemonic power in the world. This "hegemonic" power climaxed at the end of WWII and pres. Obama is doing what every president has done since then, which is to flex American might in order to create stability both in terms of security and national interests, especially with the nuclear age where unprecedented damage can be inflicted. I'm behind any action that retains us as the hegemonic superpower in the world, insuring my liberties and peace. God bless the troops!!!

    March 29, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. Sandy

    I am beginning to wonder if people hear. First off President Obama said he was pulling out of Iraq, which we should have not been in for the last upteen years. Which he is, what will be left is to help them maintain.We should have been going after the Taliban and Alquada to start after 911, we did not. Bush got side tracked. Now they are trying to Take over in Pakistan and afghanastain they are in the mountains.Pakistan is so unstable they can not patrol the areas effectively. Pakistan has nuclear weapons. That is what they are after and they are advancing to do this. If they get there, we are all done. What United States needs to do is get the nuclear weapons out until pakistan can take care of itself and blow the rest of them to smitherines. let India help. Right now Russia has said it will help, this will affect all countries not just us. North Korea and Iran need to go to. President Obama at least thinks things through.

    March 29, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. justwondering

    Pakistan has scammed America for years. President Obama is putting an end to it. Obama knows that Pakistan is like Four Seasons resort to terrorists. Time to get real.

    March 29, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. Dale

    Caution: There are terrorists hiding in this country, just like there were
    pre-911. Don't forget to be on the look-out for those of ethnic background
    who have returned to their homeland to be radicalized and returned, in order to carry out terror on U.S. soil. The enemy, at this point, is within-not without. We can never let down our guard here at home, while fighting overseas.

    March 29, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. Peter E

    And this is the mess we got by 8 years of neglect and distraction by the Bush administration. We could have ended Bin Laden's terror back then. As much effort as Bush's administration spent trying to blame Al Quaeda on the previous Clinton administration, they sure didn't do squat themselves, instead just got us into an unrelated country, Iraq to fatten the pockets of their oil buddies on public taxpayer money!!! Now Al Quaeda had plenty of time to relocate, decentralize, and recruit. Thanks Bush!

    March 29, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Mike F

    If my memory is still serving me, Clinton sent two cruise missles over the head of Bin Laden to serve as a warning, not to take him out.

    I'm glad to see Obama continue the Predator strikes and is willing to keep the pressure on. No, Pakistan isn't going to give up the Bin Laden openly, but they will tolerate our hunt for him as long as their borders aren't crossed by an army of foreigners.

    Yes, the Taliban are working on Pakistan in a way that is somewhat similar to what was done in Afghanistan. Pakistan needs leadership with a strong hand, and today they don't have that; they have a divide that the Taliban are feeding.

    China stepping in...not yet...they'll wait. I'm not sure Wen Jiabao is one that wants to be known as a present day Ghengis Khan.

    March 29, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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