Pak peace deals increased Taliban activities in Afghan: Gates

Pak peace deals increased Taliban activities in Afghan: Gates

"To a considerable degree, the beginning of greater Taliban activity in Afghanistan began as Pakistan started these peace agreements with various insurgent and extremist groups on their western border, which then freed the Taliban to come across the border as they felt no pressure from the Pakistani army," Gates said.

Testifying before a Congressional committee yesterday, Gates said situation in the region has continued to worsen. "It is a combination of the Taliban, which are the heart of the problem we face but not the only piece of it; the Haqqani network, al Qaeda and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and these others," he observed.

"So as this problem became worse in terms of the violence caused by the Taliban coming across the border from Pakistan, I think it is self-evident that we were under-resourced to deal with it.

"We did not have the military capabilities or the civilian capabilities, in terms of counterinsurgency, to be able to deal with it," Gates said.

He noted that under the new AfPak strategy, the United States will have both the military and the civilian capacity to be able to make headway with the Afghans.

"I think the key here is the strengthening of the Afghan National Army and the police that we talked about earlier. It is the strengthening of other institutions in Afghanistan," he argued.

Referring to the military action being taken by the Pak Army, Gates said these are encouraging signs.

These are "an extremely important development," he said.

"The possibility of the Afghans, the Pakistanis, ourselves and our allies together, working against this problem, has given me more optimism about the future than I have had in a long time in Afghanistan," Gates said.

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