Stealth U.S. trips over holiday include Napolitano to Pakistan
So Vice President Joe Biden wasn’t the only one making a stealth trip to an overseas hot spot over the Independence Day holiday weekend.
Turns out Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ended her European visit with an unannounced seven-hour stop in Pakistan on Friday and discussed border security and other issues with officials including the president, prime minister, and interior minister.
Of course, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security doesn’t have any role in securing the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, so it was more of a discussion about her experience in dealing with U.S.-Mexican border security issues.
We are told the fence issue came up. Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona, which shares a border with Mexico, has never been a big fan of fencing off the border.
The United States has been building a 670-mile fence along its nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico. Just an observation from far away — building a fence along the 1,100-mile border between Pakistan and Afghanistan would probably involve greater challenges given the treacherous mountainous terrain, not to mention militant hideouts.
For Napolitano it was her first trip ever to Pakistan. She traveled to Islamabad from Kuwait and discussed ways in which Pakistan and the United States could increase cooperation and information-sharing, including on travelers.
“She was impressed with some of the steps that they are taking to counter violent extremism, particularly with respect to al Qaeda, and it was a welcome sign to her,” said spokesman Sean Smith.
Photo credit: Reuters/Susana Vera (Napolitano at news conference in Madrid on July 1), Reuters/Oleg Popov (Afghan soldier stands guard at border with Pakistan)