US pressing Pakistan 'very hard' to go after Taliban

Last Updated 15 October 2010, 05:30 IST

"And we're going to keep pressing because we think there's no way to divide this threat,"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an interview With ABC in Brussels, where she is for a NATO session to discuss progress in Afghanistan.

"And I've said this publicly in Pakistan, I've said it privately many times - this is a threat to the institutions and authority of the Pakistan Government, not just to Afghanistan, not just to the interests of the United States and other countries around the world."

The strategic review of the Afghan war done after President Barack Obama took office found that "we had to look at Afghanistan and Pakistan together - it wasn't either/or; it was both/and," Clinton said.

So the US "been working very closely with the Pakistani Government, both the civilian democratically elected government and the military leadership, to chart a new way forward, a new partnership that is strategic, focused on what I believe are the threats that we both face."

When she became Secretary of State, "it was clear that there was a transition in thinking going on with - inside Pakistan that they had not come to grips with the internal threat posed by the Pakistani Taliban," she said.

"That has changed. There's been a tremendous effort by the Pakistani Government and military to go after those elements of the Taliban that threatened their institutions, where they blow up mosques, they blow up military headquarters and police stations, universities, markets, and so much else that is just violent destruction."

"But we're pressing very hard that they do more with their military forces, their intelligence forces to go after those segments of this Taliban network that is connected with Al Qaeda that is crossing the border into Afghanistan, going after our military as well as Afghan targets," she said.

Meanwhile, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has also asked Pakistan to take promised action against terrorist safe havens in North Waziristan at the earliest as it was critical in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan.

"Well, I think it's important. It's clear that North Waziristan is an important safe haven not just for Al Qaeda but for the Haqqani network and for others," Gates told travelling media on way to Brussels.

"And it's also just a fact of life that significant military resources have been drawn away to help deal with this terrible flooding situation they have.  So the question is, at what point do they return to the offensive in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas," Gates asked.

"Obviously the sooner the better, but I also completely understand the need to take care of their own people first because of the flooding."

(Published 15 October 2010, 05:28 IST)

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