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Hillary Clinton was advised to quietly take action against Pakistani military leaders who gave support to al-Qaeda and its affiliates – an email sent to her when she was Secretary of State shows.

The advice was given to Clinton by Samuel Richard “Sandy” Berger, who served as the United States National Security Advisor for President Bill Clinton from March 14, 1997, until January 20, 2001, as per the email dated October 3, 2009, declassified by the State Department yesterday.

A tranche of emails of Clinton when she was Secretary of State were released late last night.

“I believe that coercive measures are more likely to be effective if they are targeted against military leaders who give support to AQ (al-Qaeda) and its allies,” Berger said in his email to Clinton, at her request.

Blunter measures of coercion, like conditioning our assistance, are more likely to be counterproductive. Given the level of distrust for us among the Pakistani people, they would see this as another sharp swing of the US pendulum which would harden their attitudes and make greater cooperation very difficult for the Pakistani people to accept.
– Samuel Richard Berger

Berger, in his email, notes that there may be greater leverage in giving the Pakistanis incentives to be more aggressive.

Of course, the military’s calculation is most important. I’m not sure what is on their shopping list these days but we would need to balance what would move the needle on AQ against undercutting our effort to get them to shift their strategic focus away from India.
– Samuel Richard Berger

“At the same time, we can be as forward leaning as possible in support of their counterinsurgency capabilities (equipment, training, whatever material, intelligence and other assistance we can give them if they move into Wazeristan – including relief for displaced persons). If they finally take that step, we can do all that is possible to demonstrate that our arrows are aligned with theirs,” advised Berger.

The State Department on Tuesday released some 30,000 emails. The emails released by the State Department are the first batch from a pool of more than 50,000 pages turned over by Clinton from her private email server.Some of the emails also mention India – but these are mostly related to her India travel in 2009.

Vandana Kumar

Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 35-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...