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Viewing cable 09ISLAMABAD1438, NSA JONES' JUNE 25 MEETING WITH PRESIDENT ZARDARI

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ISLAMABAD1438 2009-06-30 10:10 2010-11-30 21:09 SECRET Embassy Islamabad
VZCZCXRO2235
PP RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHIL #1438/01 1811045
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 301045Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3504
INFO RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/DISA CENTRAL COMMAND MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0583
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0813
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 5183
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 1930
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE 7532
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR 6480
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 001438 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/26/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER PHUM EAID PK
SUBJECT: NSA JONES' JUNE 25 MEETING WITH PRESIDENT ZARDARI 

Classified By: Anne W. Patterson for reasons 1.4 (b,d) 

1. (C) Summary: In their June 25 meeting in Islamabad, 
National Security Advisor General James Jones and President 
Zardari discussed: Pakistan's military offensive against 
extremists; GOP capacity to fight terrorism; the nature of 
extremism in Pakistan; drones; Iran; Afghanistan; Zardari's 
conversation with Indian PM Singh in Russia; and the positive 
trend of U. S. Pakistan relations. 
End Summary. 

2. (C) National Security Advisor General James Jones, 
Ambassador, and delegation from the National Security Council 
met President Zardari and a GOP delegation at the Presidency 
on June 25. Pakistan's military campaign in Malakand and 
Waziristan had been positively noted in the U.S., said Jones, 
which welcomed the display of resolve. The trendline in 
relations between the U.S. and Pakistan was positive, said 
Jones. Zardari rejoined that the most important component of 
the relationship was the goodwill expressed by the USG toward 
Pakistan; his own tenure in office (ten months) was short and 
his popularity not high, but goodwill from America was 
central to his and Pakistan's future. 

3. (C) Pakistan was united, said Zardari: the people have 
the will to support the military in its campaign to stop the 
taliban/extremists operating in the country. He cautioned 
that the fight against militant extremism would be a long 
one, lasting not months but many, many years and that lack of 
vigilance on the GOP's part would be devastating. As 
confident as he was of the military's resolve -- this time 
-- to fight Pakistani militancy, he was equally convinced 
that any failure to maintain pressure on the militants after 
showing such resolve would have grave consequences. 

4. (S) President Zardari thanked the U.S. for its assistance 
while stating he needed "a battalion of helicopters" to fight 
the extremists now, and in the future. He also made repeated 
pleas for drones to be "put in Pakistan's hands" so that 
Pakistan would own the issue and drone attacks (including 
collateral damage) would not provoke anti-americanism. 
Zardari said the technology behind them was not cutting-edge 
and said he has raised the issue with the Chairman of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

5. (C) Journalist Bob Woodward (traveling with the NSA Jones 
delegation) joined the meeting later and asked Zardari why he 
had sharpened his attack on the extremists in the last six 
months. "Organization," replied Zardari, who noted he had 
been in office a short time and had used the first four 
months to prepare. Pointing to the death of his 
father-in-law Zulfikar Bhutto and assassination of his wife, 
Benazir, Zardari said he had been confronting extremism (or 
the ideology from which it was birthed) for more than thirty 
years. His wife had been targeted for assassination as early 
as 1988, when she was viewed as a symbol of feminism and all 
that it represented. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of 
which he was the head (like the Bhuttos before him) had 
always been ousted from power by the military, said Zardari, 
which previously had been aligned with fundamentalism. 

6. (C) Jones asked Zardari how he viewed relations in the 
region and told Zardari President Obama's own policy toward 
Iran would have to be reexamined given events unfolding 
there. Whatever had happened during the election, Iranian 
leadership could not pretend nothing had occurred and return 
as if there had been no shift. 

7. (C) Zardari noted that several tri-lateral forums had 
been created in the region with the ostensible purpose of 
supporting Afghanistan. He counseled that the USG must 
"cooperate with Turkey, and Iran," acknowledging at the same 
time that the GOP too was perplexed and disappointed by what 
had happened in Iran. As to Afghanistan, he said all 
countries had to be encouraged -- even if (as in the case of 
Russia), only to be urged not to meddle. Zardari accused 
India of providing the precursor chemicals necessary to 
produce heroine, which he said was funding the taliban in 
Afghanistan. 

8. (C) Asked by NSA Jones, what was the best that could be 
hoped for in Afghanistan, Zardari spoke of substituting 
hybrid corn for poppies, even if at a subsidized price, to 

ISLAMABAD 00001438 002 OF 002 


wean farmers from the opium trade. He said China might be 
interested or persuaded to invest in the venture. Zardari's 
vision was to use that corn for ethanol production; he 
welcomed the indication of interest shown by National 
Geographic CEO John Fahey, and invited him to return to 
Pakistan for a briefing on the concept. 

9. (C) More broadly, Zardari praised the industriousness of 
the Pashtun people. Currently they were "very good warriors," 
but they were also natural entrepreneurs and the hardest 
working people of Pakistan. If their entrepreneurial power 
could be unleashed, the problems "in the Pashtun belt" would 
largely be resolved. 

10. (C) Over the medium term, Pakistan had to built its 
economy so that is could pay its own expenses to combat 
extremism, added Zardari, who thought this possible if 
exports could be increased three-fold. (He said he would 
raise the issue with National Security Council Senior 
Director Lipton in his upcoming visit to Pakistan.) He 
thanked the USG for all it was doing to aid Pakistan and 
asked for more financial assistance. 

11. (C) Zardari signaled that there had been some progress 
in his talks with Indian PM Singh in Russia, even though he 
had noted earlier that India's military capacity was ten-fold 
Pakistan's. He regretted not being able to meet Singh at the 
upcoming Sharm el-Sheikh summit but, he said, "unfortunately, 
PM Gilani had already announced he would be going to Sharm" 
(sic). In his meeting with Singh, said Zardari, he had 
underscored that "there could not be a better political 
moment" to improve relations across the board. India was a 
mature democracy and an ancient nation, said Zardari. "Singh 
is an excellent economist," he said, but Zardari was not 
convinced the Indian Prime Minister understood the 
constraints under which Zardari was operating. Helping Singh 
to understand them was of import, hinted Zardari. NSC Senior 
Director Don Camp said the Indian perspective was to question 
GOP activism and to ask what it had done to quash terrorist 
organizations. NSA Jones reminded Zardari how important it 
was to ensure there was not another Mumbai-style attack. 
Zardari reiterated that Singh was unaware of what it took to 
"change the mind-set of Pakistan's "establishment," given 
Pakistan's short history of fragile democratic regimes 
toppled by the military. 

12. (U) NSA Jones has cleared this cable. 

PATTERSON