US “not always sees eye-to-eye with Pak” on issue of terror havens in its tribal areas

Saturday, February 19, 2011

WASHINGTON - The United States has “not always seen eye-to-eye with Pakistan” on how to deal with the threats posed by safe terrorist havens in the country’s tribal region along the Afghanistan border, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has acknowledged.

“From the beginning, we have recognized the fundamental connection between our war effort in Afghanistan and the extremists’ safe havens and enablers in Pakistan. It is no secret that we have not always seen eye-to-eye with Pakistan on how to deal with these threats or on the future of Afghanistan,” Clinton said at the Launch of the Asia Society’s Series of Richard C. Holbrooke Memorial Addresses.

“But as a result of growing cooperation between our governments, militaries, and law enforcement agencies, and determined action by the Pakistani army, we have been able to dramatically expand our counterterrorism and intelligence efforts,” she added.

Despite heavy losses, al-Qaida terrorists retain dangerous capabilities, said Clinton, adding that the US and its allies “remain their principal targets.”

She noted that while the al-Qaida was protected in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan before 2001, the terrorist organisation and the Taliban- along with various associated groups- “still maintain an alliance, based largely in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Clinton emphasised that the Al-Qaida “cannot be allowed to maintain its safe haven, protected by the Taliban, and to continue plotting attacks while destabilizing nations that have known far too much war.”

“In pursuit of this goal, we are following a strategy with three mutually reinforcing tracks - three surges, if you will: a military offensive against al-Qaida terrorists and Taliban insurgents; a civilian campaign to bolster the governments, economies, and civil societies of Afghanistan and Pakistan to undercut the pull of the insurgency; and an intensified diplomatic push to bring the Afghan conflict to an end and chart a new and more secure future for the region,” she added. (ANI)

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