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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Pakistan *updated with DAILY SCHEDULE*

May 27, 2011

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses a news conference at U. S. embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan Friday, May 27, 2011.

Well, we knew she was going to Pakistan soon, but not exactly when- for security reasons.

From the NYT:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Pakistan on Friday in what officials described as an effort to measure Pakistan’s commitment to fighting Islamic extremism after the killing of Osama bin Laden badly strained relations with the United States. It did not appear to go well.

The atmosphere of her initial meetings — visibly frosty — underscored the tensions between the two countries, which have threatened to lurch into open confrontation since Navy Seals found and killed Bin Laden on May 2 in a military garrison town only 35 miles from here. Mrs. Clinton, the highest ranking American official to visit Pakistan, was joined by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, who arrived separately as part of a carefully orchestrated diplomatic encounter.

In contrast to the usual diplomatic pleasantries, however, Mrs. Clinton and Admiral Mullen appeared awkward and unsmiling at a meeting in the presidential palace with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and the chief of the Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Otherwise the officials did not appear together or make a joint statement, and Mr. Zardari’s office limited access of journalists traveling with Mrs. Clinton even to the photo opportunity and did not allow it to be recorded.

In brief remarks directed at Mr. Zardari, Mrs. Clinton said the Obama administration recognized “the sacrifice that is made every single day by the men and women of your military and the citizens of your country,” according to a video of the encounter. Mr. Zardari’s response was inaudible because his staff had barred microphones.

Mrs. Clinton and Admiral Mullen appeared later at the American Embassy with no Pakistanis present and addressed the stress in the relationship. She joked about tense opening of the talks but made it clear in her remarks that the conversations were sharp.

“There is always a lot to talk about but this was an especially important meeting because we have reached a turning point. Osama bin Laden is dead but Al Qaeda and its syndicate of terror remain a threat to us both,” Mrs. Clinton said. She said the Pakistanis had agreed on “some very specific actions” they will take alone and with the United States but she did not elaborate.

UPDATE:Here is her daily schedule for today:

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

Secretary Clinton is on foreign travel in Islamabad, Pakistan, accompanied by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Click here for more information (ET +9 hours).

9:10 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Pakistani President Zardari, in Islamabad, Pakistan.

10:30 a.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton and Admiral Mullen hold an expanded bilateral meeting with President Zardari, Army Chief of Staff General Kayani, Acting Foreign Minister Khar and Interior Minister Rehman Malik, in Islamabad, Pakistan.

1:30 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton and Admiral Mullen hold a joint press availability, in Islamabad, Pakistan.

2:00 p.m. LOCAL Secretary Clinton meets with the staff and families of Embassy Islamabad, in Islamabad, Pakistan.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. Fahim Kidwai permalink
    May 27, 2011 7:52 am

    Trapped in the centre of line of fire between Al-Qaida/ Taliban and US government a common Pakistani expected that their strategic partner would acknowledge their suffering and the forced sacrifices if nothing more. When Clinton admitted the mistake of moving out of Pakistan after the afghan jehad and leaving Pakistan alone with the all these mujahideens brought to Pakistan from around the globe by the US, a common man in Pakistan really had hopes that finally there is someone in the US Foreign secretary’s office who understand the situation in Pakistan.
    A common man doesn’t know if OBL was in Pakistan or if anyone knew about it that in Pakistan or the US government. The common has suffered from OBL’s presence as well as the US pressure to do more. Isn’t US committing the same mistake they did after afghan jehad by telling Pakistan that it shall solve their own problems and US only is solving theirs.
    If someone wants to gauge Pakistan’s willingness to fight terrorism would they be fair enough to gauge our problems and suffering caused by this fight. I really wish Lady Secretary can someday sit with a common Pakistani to know how their life has changed in last decade. To know the nightmares he or she has about a blast or attack by Al-Qaida or Taliban and how the drone attacks and Abbottabad action has added to these.
    She is right about that: anti-Americanism and conspiracy theories will not make problems disappear. So would doubting the efforts of Pakistan, denying the heavy price a common man has paid for this war and telling Pakistan to solve their own problems but act as a strategic partner to US, will resolve the problems?

    • rachel permalink
      May 27, 2011 9:00 am

      Very good points, but the SOS and the rest of the US government has to sell the idea that Pakistan is a partner to the American people and it’s hard to do, when Pakistan has been denying that OBL was in Pakistan, and then the US finds him living right next to Pakistan military or Police. I don’t know the answers.

      • Fahim Kidwai permalink
        May 27, 2011 3:27 pm

        I think the debate on how and why about the Abbottabad Operation has already triggered a lot of theories and distrust between the US and Pakistan. The comment below from Stacy has already covers what was expected by the people of Pakistan. The biggest ally of American public in Pakistan always was the middle working class that always viewed USA as someone who would help them in regional issues with India and help them contain the afghan war within Afghanistan. The perception of this class of people has totally changed for reason well addressed to by the comment and link below by Stacy. This class of people works hard to earn their bread they are the people who lead the thinking process of the masses in Pakistan.

        Another friend below has related this to the so called Aid to Pakistan by US and has rightly showed his concerns about US tax payer’s money. I am sure my friend has through the figure of total US budget for the war against terrorism and has also checked the breakdown proportions of the budget on what is being spent where, like: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Palestine and neighbors etc. It is the hard earned money of the US nationals so there should be a concern. However, in Pakistan the concern of tax payer’s money is of secondary impotence as we are more worried about the life of the tax payer, who lives in the shadow of terrorism attacks. Trust me it is not a comforting feeling when you have to think many times about the safe return before sending your kids to school to go out for work or plan a day out with family/ kids.

  2. Thain permalink
    May 27, 2011 11:12 am

    We give Pakistan huge amounts of $$$- maybe we should reduce the amount to send a message? I’m sick of our tax dollars going to proxy wars and to supposed allies who treat us like dirt (that means you too, Afghanistan and Israel). Rather than building roads and schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan lets build them here in the US.

    Oh, and Pakistan has nukes- no one likes to talk about that because they are much more of a danger than Iran is- because Iran does NOT have nukes and Pakistan is unstable and playing both sides.

  3. May 27, 2011 12:55 pm

    OT: This makes me very uncomfortable. I wish this administration would put a stop to working with Blackwater subsidiaries. How can we win hearts and minds when we are tacitly playing a role in squashing democracy protests throughout the middle east. And no, I don’t buy the “oh, but it’s all Iran…blah, blah, blah.” That’s a convenient excuse.

    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15111275,00.html?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

    IN 2008 both candidates criticized the role of private contractors and particularly mercenary armies like Blackwater. But this administration has INCREASED their role, not only in working with the CIA and military, but the STATE DEPT. has renewed quite a few contracts and now has it’s own little private contractor army at the embassy in Iraq.

    Between this and the 4 year extension of the PATRIOT Act, I’m not seeing a big difference between Bush and Obama when it comes to war and terrorism. Obama lied in 2008 and he continues to do so. Everything he criticized about expanding Executive power at the expense of Congress and civil liberties, he has now done a 180 and approved.

    One of the sad facts about 9/11 is that we fed into the politics of fear- squashing civil liberties in the name of security and engaging in the some of the same tactics that the so-called enemy uses (torture, assassinations etc.) In that respect, Al Qaeda has already won by fundamentally changing how this country operates and becoming a secretive national security state in a state of perpetual war. And someone’s making a lot of money off of all of this, but no one ever asks any questions.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      May 27, 2011 7:01 pm

      Wait a sec – if the UAE decides to pay some former Navy SEAL $500 million to train a private army of non-Muslims to squash public uprisings (among other things), how is the US tacitly playing a role in these violent crackdowns? Because the mercenaries are American (actually they include French legionnaires and Brits, apparently)? I know the Blackwater contractors in Afghanistan were inadequately supervised and corrupt (or worse? I don’t rightly remember) but I’m not sure that means there is no role for any contractors anytimr anywhere. Doesn’t it matter what they’re being hired to do (help us fight the Taliban — or whatever the hell it is we’re still doing in Afghanistan — rather than slaughtering our own citizens?

      • stacyx permalink*
        May 28, 2011 7:41 am

        I never said we should never use any private contractors for anything ever. And yes, not all of them are bad, but the thing with Erik Prince of Blackwater/Xe is he left the country to go to the UAE because he wanted to escape likely prosecution for crimes in the U.S. That seems surprising given private contractors are rarely held accountable but apparently Blackwater was so out of control they managed to be able to come up with something that would legally stick. And that seems to be what is concerning the Senators because even if this is another one of his little private companies, he’s a US citizen. I am also guessing that there may be some question as to whether the US govt will ever contract with this new company like they do with Xe. And then there’s the unpleasant fact that his company will be used by dictators to squash the pro-democracy movements in the region. And he’s supposedly some right-wing evangelical Christian? Why do they love money and killing so much?

        Lets be clear about something- we use private contractor armies for an important political reason and it’s not to prevent our own citizens from getting killed because many of the private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. ARE American citizens- it’s to allow our politicians to sell every damn war they think up without having to ask you and me to sacrifice one bit- without these contractors we would likely need a draft in the future and if that were to happen, you can be sure support for intervention in these countries would drop to next to zero- suddenly people would realize that these wars weren’t REALLY an essential American interests. Because of these contractors, our kids can go to Yale instead of Afghanistan. My father and probably your father wore a uniform, right? They actually sacrificed during wartime because it was EXPECTED of ALL US citizens. And women who weren’t in the military (in WAVES or whatever) worked in factories. Today what do we do? Nothing. We sit around on blogs and talk about patriotism and how Iran is such a threat we have to do something!

        It’s a disgrace that so few members of congress and pundits and policy wonks have kids in the service. They think up these wars, sell these wars but it’s all academic. Paul Wolfowitz thought up the Iraq War with his neocon pals while a professor at Yale. That figures.

        Also, a recent defense report on private security contractors found upwards of 100 billion dollars in fraud and abuse- taxpayer dollars and you know what they recommended to fix the problem? Doing NOTHING. Can you imagine? They said the system is working. Where are all the budget hawks? Where’s the media screaming “foul!” NOWHERE.

        When this administration was deciding whether or not to send more troops to Afghanistan, guess who was lobbying for them to do so? The private contractor lobby. They make lots of money in perpetual war. That’s an issue in the Israel-Palestine conflict too- lots of Israeli and American security/defense companies make a ton of money off the occupation. Peace and love and harmony just isn’t good for business.

        We pay our men and women in uniform next to nothing but then we pay some private contractor hundreds of millions to do the exact same thing? How does that work? And given these are very much mercenary armies what type of people might be attracted to killing and protecting for hundreds of thousands a year? Maybe some good, qualified people, but I’m guessing a lot of trigger-happy greedy people with issues are also attracted- look at the instances of rape, sexual hazing, murder of civilians by US contractors- not all of them of course. But that’s what happens when there is zero accountability and no one really cares what they are up to because we are too busy living our lives. You realize that private contractors played a big role in Abu Ghraib? And they played a big role in the torture of prisoners. And because of a big fat loophole they are completely unaccountable under US law for most crimes they may commit overseas, unlike our military men and women who ARE accountable. It sort of almost encourages bad behavior. I’m wondering if Erik Prince was wanted for economic crimes as opposed to all the murder and mayhem he unleashed from one end of the Middle East to the other.

        There are some very good contractors who do very necessary work I am sure. But if you’ve seen the Frontline special “Are We Safer” you’ll see a huge national security/intelligence infrastructure created after 9/11 that has been a huge boon to the military industrial complex- these private companies work in total secret, unaccountable and they get paid huge bucks. What are the national security implications of having hundreds of thousands of people in the private sector having access to our top secret intelligence info? Seems to invite espionage since some of these companies have ties to other countries, like ISRAEL for example.

        These private contractors also are very bad for winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq etc. The native population hates them. That Raymond Davis case in Pakistan, where three people were killed. He’s believed to be a private contractor working with the CIA so poof! He’s whisked out of the country. How many friends did that win us over there?

        Ok, I’m rambling, sorry.

        • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
          May 28, 2011 10:50 am

          I knew I could count on you for the comprehensive, authoritative, and always spot on “low down” on this caper.
          Thanks, stacy

          Now go have a great weekend and leave your blog alone!

  4. May 27, 2011 1:04 pm

    For anyone interested in anything having to do with private contractors, Jeremy Scahill of ‘The Nation’ is the expert. His latest post:

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/dod-investigating-nine-cases-terrorism-related-acts-us-military-and-contractors

    Also, on Israel-Palestine, Prof. Khalidi explains why all the fuss about Obama throwing Israel under the bus was a joke- or actually, it was a smart political tactic to try to push the admin. further to the right. He points out that this admin. has adopted almost every right wing Likud talking point and compare that with Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech and you begin to understand why Palestinians are fed up with us and going to go directly to the UN.

    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/05/27/rashid_khalidi_obama_palestine/index.html

  5. Thain permalink
    May 27, 2011 2:07 pm

    @Stacy- thanks for the link- I like Khalidi.

    Speaking of I-P, Congress and the admin. say they won’t negotiate with terrorists but we are negotiating with the Taliban- the people who are currently killing Americans in Afghanistan?

    http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/05/27/1907954/after-bin-ladens-death-will-taliban.html

    More special rules for Israel. We’ll negotiate with people who are killing Americans but we’ll jump up and down and condemn negotiations between Israel and Hamas? Makes perfect sense. Oh, and members of Congress and former politicians will hold fundraisers for the MEK who are on the US list of terrorist organizations while some Palestinian rights activists are targeted by the US govt for giving “material aid” to terrorist organizations on the flimsiest of grounds.

    I see.

    I’ve decided I totally support the Palestinians going to the UN in Sept. and I support the US not leading peace negotiations because we proved last week that not only are we not an honest broker but that we are shameless cheerleaders for only one side.

  6. May 27, 2011 2:37 pm

    HI AND AS SLAM O ALLAKOM TO EACH AND EVERY PERSON.

    AMERICA AND INDIA ALWAYS WANTED TO DESTORY PAKISTANS NUCLEAR ASSETS.PAKISTAN IS FIRST MUSLIUMS NUCLEAR STATE.AMERICA IS PLAYING AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN DAMAGING POPULARITY OF PAKISTAN ISI , PAKISTAN ARMY AND PAKISTAN NAVY AMONG THE PAKISTANI PEOPLE WITH TALIBAN,S HELP BY GIVING LARGE QUANTITY OF AMERICAN DOLLARS.

    THANKS YOU/ ALLAH HAFIZ

  7. Fahim Kidwai permalink
    May 27, 2011 3:34 pm

    http://useconomy.about.com/od/usfederalbudget/f/War_on_Terror_Facts.htm

    Some insight on the cost of War

    • Fahim Kidwai permalink
      May 27, 2011 3:45 pm

      Wars are an expensive and still undesirable affair. The cost of military operations the human loss the damaged economy, how much of it can Pakistan actually afford? Both military and civilian fatalities

      • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
        May 27, 2011 7:20 pm

        @Fahim, the US is no angel but it’s a little too easy to blame all of Pakistan’s problems on the US — in fact, Pakistan would do well to look towards internal problems like the rapidly growning population, poverty, massive debt, huge mitary budget (most of that going towards your ongoing conflict with India over the Kazhmir region), dependence on foreign oil, unstable government, etc etc. I sympathize with the Pakistani people caught in the middle of all this. And you’re right: I can’t imagine raising a family under the circumstances you contend with every day. It’s heart-breaking. What exactly wod you have our government do?

        • Fahim Kidwai permalink
          May 28, 2011 7:42 am

          Everything a strategic partner shall do. The Abbotabad operation and the drone attacks have changed people’s perception about the US policies. Specially after May 2, 2011 the general public now sees USA as someone who doesn’t respect their sovereignty or the emotions of a common Pakistani. Now people feel that Pakistan is being forced by US to fight this war in their soil as they are the ones who pay the price in terms of civilian life and collateral loss. Trust me the common man is not interested on the US Aid packages as it never reaches the right person, most of it is consumed by either US based project consultants or the so called executing NGO’s in Pakistan. What people want to see is that US government understands and respects Pakistan and its people. They want to know that the US actions are not based on a war against them or their religious beliefs. USA has always been Pakistan’s ally in this region, the shift of policy towards India in the recent years and lack of US support for Pakistan in terms of Pak-India issues is another part that should be reviewed.

  8. stacyx permalink*
    May 28, 2011 7:58 am

    Some links on private contractors:

    http://www.alternet.org/story/140558/report:_billions_of_dollars_lost_to_contractor_fraud,_waste_and_abuse/

    On no legal accountability for crimes committed by contractors overseas:

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/610c9e58-0871-11da-97a6-00000e2511c8,s01=1.html#axzz1Ne9WqQjY

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/12/washington/12contractors.html

    About the huge death toll of US contractors and how contractors are key to ensuring US support for endless wars:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-isenberg/the-uncounted-contractor-_b_859206.html

    Private contractors found working with the Taliban:

    http://www.propublica.org/blog/item/leaked-war-logs-raise-questions-of-accountability-for-military-contractors

    On Erik Prince’s move to the UAE:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/world/18blackwater.html

    The legal accountability gap in holding private contractors accountable for crimes committed in combat zones overseas:

    http://isenberg.securitycontracting.net/2011/03/private-military-firms-and-responses-to-their-accountability-gap/

    More on the legal issues involved with the use of private military contractors:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24896

    *btw, one of those links, it’s unclear exactly what Erik Prince would be charged with- criminal or civil crimes.

    • Fahim Kidwai permalink
      May 28, 2011 8:11 am

      good research Stacyx

  9. May 28, 2011 8:51 am

    I can’t help but wonder how the US would feel if some other country was conducting military operations on American soil in violation of our sovereignty and in the process killing American civilians? I think we have to at least consider that question out of fairness to the Pakistanis who are upset with US hegemony in the region.

    I think we also have to remember that much of Pakistan’s focus is on the threat it perceives it faces from India- that’s something that we in the US don’t really know much about and don’t talk about because we have a foreign policy IQ that hovers around room temperature and an attention span of about 5 minutes. Remember, most Americans don’t even know where Pakistan and India are on a map. Some of Pakistan’s alliances that we disapprove of (with the Taliban or AQ) is likely a result of their belief that those groups will help them fend off any threat from India. Now, that may or may not be true, but Pakistani-India relations really dominate that region and as someone mentioned above, it was key to Pakistan’s quest to becoming a nuclear nation.

    That said, the US has a problem- AQ still threatens the US and the Taliban is supposedly in league with them. But I can’t help but wonder- how much of the Taliban and AQ’s obsessive focus on the US is a result of our actions in the region? Osama Bin Laden vowed jihad against the US only after we put troops on Saudi soil. And our unquestioning support for Israel’s maintaining the occupation certainly hasn’t won us any friends. When we put that nutter Hamid Karzai, formerly of the Carlyle Group, as head of Afghanistan during the Bush years it was in part to secure an oil pipeline across Afghanistan- something that had been denied to us prior to that. Our endless thirst for oil and dominance in the region has come at a huge price and not just for Americans.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      May 28, 2011 10:54 am

      Was that pipeline actually built?
      And while we’re on the subject, did we exploit Iraq’s oil reserves in any way?

      • May 28, 2011 12:11 pm

        Yes, it is in the works now but in order for it to be built, the US has to improve security in the region. The project was approved as soon as Karzai took office (you know, as soon as we put him there) but then the security of the region deteriorated to such an extent that the other countries that would be involved in the pipeline, wouldn’t support it until security improved. So it was held up for a while. I can’t help but wonder if that’s part of the reason we are so interested in spending Trillions of dollars and countless American lives to fight what is it now? 50 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan? Someone isn’t telling us the whole truth:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/12/world/asia/12pipeline.html

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2017044.stm

        As for oil in Iraq, we most certainly have a stake in the oil- much more so than prior to the war when we had sanctions on Iraq and US companies were no longer able to do business there- at least not legally. The problem though is that the insurgents have sabotaged many of the pipelines and refineries over the past 8 years. The problem continues to be that oil production in Iraq is down, again because of insecurity- which of course, we helped cause, only now to stick around and try and fix. Why do you think we are building an embassy the size of Vatican city there? For sightseeing?

        http://www.democracynow.org/2007/2/20/new_iraq_oil_law_to_open

        • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
          May 28, 2011 9:06 pm

          Wow, that interview is depressing. And here I thought we went into Iraq because Saddam Hussein refused to account for his weapons of mass destruction. 

          “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
          [Hermann Goering, at the Nuremberg trials]

    • PYW permalink
      May 28, 2011 2:57 pm

      I didn’t know Karzai had been with the Carlyle Group.😦

  10. May 29, 2011 9:57 am

    nice

  11. elhrac permalink
    May 29, 2011 1:44 pm

    What is the nature of Hillary’s relationship with Huma Abedin? Does anyone know?

    • PYW permalink
      May 29, 2011 7:32 pm

      she’s her personal aide.

      • elhrac permalink
        May 30, 2011 2:06 pm

        yes, but how personal?

        • rachel permalink
          May 30, 2011 4:19 pm

          Why don’t you go ahead and go out and say what your trying to imply

        • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
          May 30, 2011 11:50 pm

          Abedin is married to Rep Anthony Weiner (D-Queens) so sorry to disappoint…

          • elhrac permalink
            June 1, 2011 5:15 pm

            And Hillary is married to BJ Clinton, so she can’t possibly have any other relationships.

            • Thain permalink
              June 1, 2011 5:42 pm

              Go away- you are trolling. Believe what u want, u will anyway.

        • PYW permalink
          May 31, 2011 1:35 pm

          no more “personal” than her relationship with bob gates or president obama.

  12. Vcal permalink
    May 29, 2011 2:46 pm

    Stacyx, not a photo bomb today? Not pushing, just wishing.
    Have a nice weekend all!

    • Tovah permalink
      May 30, 2011 1:05 pm

      It’s a holiday weekend, she’s probably away so we’ll give her a pass this weekend😉

  13. HillaryFan permalink
    June 2, 2011 6:54 am

    @Thain- right on! That stupid rumor circulated in the 90’s with no evidence to back it up but that doesn’t stop the Clinton haters. God forbid she just has an aide/adviser who she trusts- no, it must be something more salacious!

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