Friday, February 26, 2010

US Praises Pakistani Anti-Terror Successes

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s ‘decisive’ action against the Taliban is already showing results, says the US State Department, adding that such measures would encourage militants to seek reconciliation.

“This is expressly the kind of decisive action that we sought in our strategy from the outset, and that has been the basis upon which we have worked with Afghanistan, worked with Pakistan,” said the department’s spokesman P.J. Crowley.

Talking to reporters at the State Department on Thursday evening, Crowley, however, warned that it was too early to declare victory.

There has been a positive response in the US to Pakistani military and intelligence operations over the last several weeks that resulted in the capture of some key Taliban leaders, including the group’s military chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Crowley said that Pakistani actions were linked to a joint strategy for dealing with militants, which began with the recognition that they were an adversary of the United States as well as Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

“But as to what conclusions those who are associated with political violence will draw from this, that is expressly why we have included in our strategy the concept of reintegrating those who are currently engaged in the fight,” he added.

To join this reintegration process, the militants will first have to lay down their arms, disassociate themselves from Al Qaeda and accept the Afghan constitution or the rule of law in Pakistan, he said.

Responding to a question about a possible reconciliation with the Taliban leadership, the spokesman said the US and its allies were “not too far down that road at this point”.

Such decisions, he added, would ultimately be made by the Afghan leadership on their side, the Pakistani leadership on their side. “But certainly, I think we are encouraged by the broad trends that show the results of Pakistan’s decisive action.”

Crowley claimed that in southern Afghanistan, where the US was conducting a major military operation, the militants were already showing interest in the reintegration process.

“We’re now moving ahead with being able to bring more civilians into that region and demonstrate to the Afghan people that there are clear benefits to them in the immediate term and the long run.”

From here.

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