WASHINGTON — Throughout the campaign, Barack Obama made many promises to the American people. Msnbc.com has chosen 14 of these to explain, explore, and track. See if the new president keeps his word, and vote on his progress during the first 100 days.
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Obama’s words: “What I've said is we're going to encourage democracy in Pakistan, expand our non-military aid to Pakistan so that they have more of a stake in working with us, but insisting that they go after these militants. And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden; we will crush al-Qaida. That has to be our biggest national security priority.”
The issue: During the Bush administration, nuclear-armed Pakistan became a key ally in the U.S. war on terror, with then-President Pervez Musharraf promising to crack down on militants in the country’s lawless region along the border with Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding.
But even with its tacit support of U.S. aims, Pakistan does not allow U.S. troops to operate within its borders, and many observers believe the nation’s efforts to prosecute would-be terrorists are less than energetic.
Perhaps as a consequence, Predator drones launched by the U.S. military have repeatedly struck at alleged terrorist targets within the country, despite protests from Islamabad.
In August, Barack Obama said, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.”
Following through: Just days into Barack Obama’s presidency, two U.S. missile strikes killed more than a dozen people in northwestern Pakistan.
The strikes involved missiles fired from Afghanistan-based Predator drones, and reportedly killed several insurgents and possibly even a “high-value” target.
It’s an attack that seems to signal that Obama intends to keep his word and strike at militants within Pakistan — with or without permission.
Obama has also thrown his support behind a bill in Congress to increase non-military assistance to Pakistan to $1.5 billion annually — funds intended to shore up democratic rule and reduce extremism in the country.
But the U.S. says the cash will come with benchmarks for Pakistani progress — a move that has angered many in Islamabad.
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