Briefing on the New Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan

MS. FLOURNOY: This is — we are — the President is going to the NATO summit; Secretary Clinton is going to The Hague on March 31st. We are — have been engaging extensively throughout the review with our allies and our partners and we have made some very clear requests of them, not only in the military sphere, but in the training and mentoring sphere, in the capacity sphere on the civilian side, in terms of — also in terms of financial contributions. So we are making very specific asks; we’ve been in consultation with them already and we expect many of those to be — come to fruition over the next month or two.

AMBASSADOR HOLBROOKE: But The Hague is not a pledging conference. We’re not going to The Hague to collect numbers; we’re going to The Hague to set the framework for a new revitalization of the commitment. However, many countries have already talked to us privately about either troops during the election period, or nonmilitary support.

I would particularly draw your attention to Japan. Japan is going to pay the salaries of the National Police for the next six months — all of it — as an example of huge — and this is very important; the Congress emphasizes it all the time.

Q Can you go through the benchmarks, please? What are they? Who set them and who will determine whether the benchmarks are being met?

MR. RIEDEL: The benchmarks is a process that’s just beginning. We have not established them. Let me say that this strategic review is a road map for moving forward; it’s a strategy. It’s not intended to be a campaign plan or a straitjacket.

We will develop benchmarks across the board. Some of these are fairly obvious, like levels of violence, levels of casualties, periodicity of suicide bombings both in Afghanistan and Pakistan — those kind of benchmarks that you measure any conflict by. Those are some that are pretty obvious. There are going to be other ones about moving against corruption; there will be other ones about the speed with which we build up the Afghan army and the success rate of building the Afghan army.

So the benchmarks process is not something that’s locked in stone today. It’s something that we’re only at the beginning phase of starting to work on.

Q Well, will the benchmarks be just for Afghanistan, or will they also be for any kind of progress being made in western Pakistan?

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