Pakistan pledges resolve against terrorism

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari Wednesday told US Vice President Joe Biden that Islamabad would fight to eliminate violent extremism and terrorism from Pakistani soil.

Zardari made the comments in a statement released after meeting Biden to discuss security on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and efforts to deal with the Taliban insurgency.

“Pakistan is committed to fight and defeat extremists and terrorists of all hue and the fight against them would continue till the complete eradication of this menace,” Zardari said.

Appealing to the international community for support, he said that a handful of militants and extremists would never be allowed to impose their agenda on Pakistan.

Biden said he appreciated Pakistan’s fight against militants and that the “US administration would support Pakistan’s efforts to strengthen democracy, countering terrorism and in meeting its developmental needs and capacity building”.

Biden planned to meet army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani later Wednesday.

He was expected to try to convince the military leadership to launch an operation in North Waziristan, considered the major base for militants.

Biden told reporters in Kabul Tuesday that Pakistan needed to do more to eliminate hideouts in its tribal region from where Taliban and Al Qaeda launch attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.

“It is going to require more pressure on the Taliban from the Pakistani side of the border than we have been able to observe so far,” he said during a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The US administration has also expressed concern about the slow pace of economic reforms to increase the revenue base in Pakistan.

Biden was expected to offer more financial assistance to help Pakistan meet its challenges, which include energy shortages, price hikes and rampant poverty.

He was also to discuss the material requirements for Pakistan’s military in order to move against the insurgents in the tribal areas.

Zardari was reported as speaking out against recent US drone attacks inside Pakistan’s border. The statement said he urged the US to transfer some of its technology so that Pakistan could use unmanned aircraft against the militants.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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