Eliminate Taliban bases, Pak told

Arriving on a crucial visit to Islamabad on Thursday, Gates said, “It is important to remember that the Pakistani Taliban operates in collusion with both the Taliban in Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda. So it impossible to separate these groups.”

Saying that the chief reason for his visit was to develop a broader strategic dialogue with Pakistan, Gates writing in The News made it clear that there was a link between Afghanistan’s stability and Pakistan’s own.

Gates comments come as Islamabad mounted a big military campaign against Pakistani Taliban faction that are attacking the state, but resisted US pressure to attack other Taliban groups like the powerful Haqqani network, who do not attack Pakistan but cross the border to fight US and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

“If history is any indication, safe havens for either Taliban, on either side of the border in the long run lead to more lethal and more brazen attacks in both nations,” Gates wrote in an article in a leading Pakistani newspaper.

US defence secretary said, “Only by pressuring all of these groups on both sides of the border will Afghanistan and Pakistan be able to rid themselves of this scourge for good... to destroy those who promote the use of terror here and abroad.”

He praised the military offensive launched against the Taliban in recent months. Apparently referring to trust deficit between Washington and Islamabad, Gates said that US wanted to relinquish grievances of the past held by both sides.

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