NATO plots Afghan-Pakistan strategy

Joe Biden said he heard the concerns and priorities of NATO allies.
NATO countries must create a comprehensive approach to oust al Qaeda, the Taliban and other extremists from Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday after a meeting with NATO members.

“The imperative of a comprehensive approach with a strong civilian and diplomatic effort is necessary because we know there is no purely military solution to either Afghanistan or Pakistan,” Biden told reporters at a news conference after the sessions at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The vice president was consulting with members of the North Atlantic Council, the main decision-making body within NATO, ahead of a NATO summit April 3-4 in Germany and France. “I heard from our allies. I heard their concerns, and they listed their priorities,” said Biden, who was accompanied at the news conference by NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. “We had a very good meeting. There was an incredible amount of consensus around the table,” Biden added. “I came away with a much clearer sense of what our NATO friends would like us to consider.”

The vice president said he also asked country representatives to submit further concerns and observations about Pakistan and Afghanistan to U.S. officials so they can be included in a report on the region requested by President Barack Obama. The review will be presented to the president before the end of March in preparation for the summit.