Clinton Says New Afghanistan-Pakistan Plan Depends on Diplomacy

By MichaelJames

Mar 28, 2009 5:00pm

ABC News’ Kirit Radia reports: ABC News has obtained an internal message from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) personnel worldwide, in which she said diplomacy will be the key to success of the Obama administration’s new Afghanistan-Pakistan plan.

In the cable to diplomats and employees late Friday after the administration rolled out its new plan for the troubled region, Clinton wrote:

"As the president made clear, meeting our core goal requires that we use all elements of our national power — diplomatic, development, military, economic and informational. That’s why I am writing you today. Because whether this strategy succeeds or not depends in large part on all of us at the Department of State and USAID."

More than the additional military trainers President Obama announced Friday, Clinton said diplomatic efforts will determine whether or not the plan succeeds.

"The major shift in this strategy is to emphasize our diplomatic and civilian efforts to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over three-quarters of the specific recommendations outlined in the strategic review are the responsibility of the State Department or USAID. That means more civilian expertise working on the ground; it means pursuing greater regional diplomacy; and it means sustained high-level attention and focus in Washington," she wrote.

Clinton also said she’ll make an appeal for allies and neighbors to assist in the effort when she attends the international Afghanistan conference on Tuesday at The Hague.

"We will be asking all countries who have a stake in the future of this critical region to do their part," she wrote.

"Given the nature of the challenge we face, it is appropriate that our responsibilities are greater than before. The expectations are high; but we can meet them. In the weeks and months ahead, I ask for all of your ideas, talent, creativity, hard work and sacrifice to help make this new strategy succeed. The ability of the Afghan and Pakistani people to build peaceful and prosperous lives — and the future national security of the United States — requires nothing less," she concluded.

Clinton said the redoubled effort will require stricter oversight of the increased foreign aid it calls for.

"This new strategy makes clear that we must implement significant changes in the management, resources, and focus of our foreign assistance," she wrote.

"Implementing our strategy will be among the highest priorities for me and my leadership team," Clinton wrote.

She said the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, will be the point-man for "all our civilian activities in this effort."

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