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PRESSURE ON PAKISTAN TO FIGHT TERRO

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Amid growing tension between USA and Pakistan over Pakistan’s ambiguousness in fighting terror and supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan, Hillary Clinton, on a visit to Islamabad on Friday 10/21/2011, has given warning that Pakistan must crack down on anti-American fighters or face more unilateral action by the US. Despite the apparent frustrations, the two countries could not give up their relationship, the US secretary of state said on Friday (see – Ambiguous Ties).

“There is frustration on both sides, which I recognise,” Clinton said, calling for “give and take” from both sides.

Clinton said the US expected Pakistan to deny Afghan Taliban-linked fighters safe havens and saw a “strong” Pakistan as critical to stability in the region. “We look to Pakistan to take strong steps to deny Afghan insurgents safe havens and to encourage the Taliban to enter negotiations in good faith,” she said.

“Now we have to turn our attention here on the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani and other terrorist groups and try to get them into a peace process but, if that failed, prevent them from committing more violence and murdering more innocent people.”

Clinton delivered a similarly stern message to Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister, during a meeting on Thursday that involved military, intelligence and civilian leaders from both sides.

For his part, Gilani urged Clinton to “give peace a chance” as envisaged in a Pakistani conference last month that opposed increasing US pressure for action against the Haqqani group (see -Sirajuddin Haqqani).

Many Pakistanis, while angry at homegrown violence and at their own fractured leadership, blame the US as the fount of their troubles. A daily diet of anti-American media conspiracy theories feed the climate of mistrust.

The then-most senior US military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, called the Haqqani network a “veritable arm” of the ISI and accused its spies of being involved in the embassy siege (see – Panetta Briefing 09.20.11 ).

Pakistan disagrees with the US strategy, believing that military operations offer limited gains and that now is the time to concentrate on a comprehensive reconciliation ahead of a NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.

Actually the same subject of Pakistan’s role in the war on terror in general and specifically in the war in Afghanistan overshadow and is dominating US- Pakistan ties for more than a decade and there is no substantial progress in the matter since Hillary Clinton’s visit in Pakistan, on the subjects, two years ago on 09/29/2011 (see – Clinton Comments).
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