Clinton Calls for “Active Political Process” in Afghanistan

Posted August 16th, 2011 at 1:25 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Afghan President Hamid Karzai's announcement that he will not run for re-election means there must be an “active political process” to elect a successor.

Clinton made the comment Tuesday at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. She said the U.S. wants the Afghan government to be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.

She also called on Iraq to name a defense minister so that country can better organize itself to counter terrorist threats.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also spoke at the event. He said the U.S. is ready to consider a continuing presence of U.S. troops in Iraq for training purposes, if Iraq requests it.

He refused to comment on allegations that Pakistan allowed China access to a U.S. helicopter that crashed in April during a raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan. He said that query addressed classified intelligence. He added that, despite tensions, the U.S. has “no choice” but to continue its alliance with Pakistan because both nations are fighting al Qaida terrorists in the region.

And Clinton tried to explain why the United States has not called on Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to step down in response to his use of military force on opposition demonstrators. She said U.S. officials believe “growing international condemnation” is more effective than a statement by the U.S. alone.