Enemy in Pakistan far from defeated: Petraeus


Gen. David H. Petraeus, Commander of United States Central Command, speaks to the 91st annual national convention of the American Legion Tuesday. AP

"These encouraging developments notwithstanding, however, the enemy in Pakistan is far from defeated, and many extremist elements have yet to be engaged, particularly those that typically operate outside Pakistan's borders," Commander of the US Central Command General David Petraeus said.

Petraeus said that a number of developments in Pakistan over the past four and half months have been heartening.

The Pakistani government, clerics and people increasingly have united in support of military operations against the extremists operating inside Pakistan's borders. Indeed, Pakistan's leaders and people have come to see the Pakistani Taliban as a threat to their country's very existence, and this is significant, he said at the 91st annual American Legion Convention, Louisville, Kentucky.

"Robust Pakistani military operations in Swat Valley and in other districts of the Northwest Frontier Province have cleared militants from those areas.

"Operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in recent months have resulted in the death of militant leader Baitullah Mehsud and a number of other important extremist group leaders," Petraeus said.

Even here one can sense the beginning of a realization among Pakistan's leaders and people that extremists operating from their soil, in neighboring countries, challenge the so-called writ of Pakistani governance and inevitably will turn on their own country's security forces and citizens, General Petraeus said.

"It goes without saying that we will continue to support the Pakistani military and government as they grapple with the security challenges of such enormous importance to them and to our country and the rest of the world," he said.

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