Hillary Clinton said today that Pakistan had little choice but to take a more aggressive approach, starting last summer, in combating the Taliban and other extremists that threaten to destabilize the country. In a lively give-and-take with students at the Government College of Lahore, Clinton said inaction by the government would have amounted to ceding ground to terrorists. "If you want to see your territory shrink, that's your choice," she said, adding that she believed it would be a bad choice.
Clinton was responding to a student who suggested that Washington was forcing Pakistan to use military force on its own territory. It was one of several questions from the students that raised doubts about the relationship between the United States and Pakistan. Clinton gave frank answers to most, but refused to talk about one of the topics setting off the most animosity—US drone attacks near the Afghan border. The Obama administration routinely refuses to acknowledge publicly that the attacks, which often kill civilians, are taking place.