US Ambassador Marc Grossman on US-Pakistan Relations, Terrorism and Rabbani's Death

"Pakistanis have some decisions to make about their future," said U.S. Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman in an exclusive interview with Asia Society's Vice President of Global Policy Programs Suzanne DiMaggio.

"If they come to a realization that terrorism and extremism is a threat to them, they will be looking for ways to work with us to end this threat to Pakistan, to Pakistanis, to Pakistani society," he said.

U.S.-Pakistan relations have deteriorated after Admiral Mike Mullen, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, alleged at the U.S. Senate last week that Pakistan’s intelligence agency had a role in sponsoring the Haqqani Network — including attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Ambassador Grossman said it is important to remember the impact of terrorism on Pakistan. Since 2003, he said, about 19,000 Pakistani civilians have been killed in terrorist attacks. He said disengagement with Pakistan was not an option and that Admiral Mullen’s complete remarks to the Senate emphasized even more engagement with the nation.

He also said the assassination of Afghan High Peace Council head Burhanuddin Rabbani was a "shock" and "setback" but one that should not deter efforts for peace. He added that the roadmap for peace in Afghanistan was outlined in a speech Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered at Asia Society in February. "The issue is, will we get back onto this track — and the instructions from President Karzai and President Obama is to do so."


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Shreeya Sinha is an award-winning Journalist, Multimedia Producer and Social Media Editor for Asia Society. She was raised in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and India.