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Deployment of more US troops in Afghanistan raises threat of Taliban penetration into Pakistan territory: Qureshi tells Holbrooke

Friday, June 5, 2009 Leave a Comment

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said advent of 17000 more US troops in Afghanistan has raised the threat of Taliban penetration from Afghanistan to Pakistan territory while US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has said his country will not leave Pakistan in the lurch and deployment of more US troops in Afghanistan will accelerate the pace of ongoing operation against Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Foreign office sources told that Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Richard Holbrooke met here in foreign office and exchanged views on a set of issues ranging from ways and means to further consolidate bilateral strategic ties between Pakistan and US, continuation of war on terror, financial assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), ongoing military operation in Swat, Pak-Afghan ties, overall situation of regional security, increase in aid to Pakistan to other matters of mutual interest.

Foreign Minister said government was taking all possible steps for rehabilitation of IDPs stressing Pakistan needed enormous help from international community in this respect. 3 million displaced persons had put at stake their future for the sake of future of region and the whole world, therefore, it was incumbent on world community to extend help to them. One billion US dollars are required for the rehabilitation and reconstruction job. International community should give immediate and positive response to UN appeal on this count so that affectees families could be provided assistance, he appealed.

He noted Pakistan was much concerned over misplacement of NATO arms and their shipment to Pakistani territories. This had given impetus to militancy, he alleged.

He reiterated resolve that uprooting the terrorism and extremis was in the national interest adding military operation against the terrorists was going on successfully and it would continue till its logic end.

The process of economic growth was moving forward slow paced owing to global economic melt down and ongoing energy crisis in the country, he said war on terror had taken heavy toll on Pakistan economy and had smashed its infrastructure. He urged the friendly countries to help Pakistan taking into account the ground realities.

He reiterated Pakistan wanted lasting peace in South Asia and at global level adding it did not have any aggressive designs against any one nor it did want to join any arms race. "But we can not remain oblivious to our defence and we will continue to work on maintaining minimum credible deterrence", he announced.

Pakistan had reservation on US policy for Pakistan and Afghanistan as both the countries were two sovereign states and their problems were not identical. Therefore, separate policies be pursued for both the countries, he stressed.

US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke said new US administration wanted to see Pakistan was set on the path to progress and prosperity. Existing ties between the two countries would be further bolstered for the sake of regional security and durable peace in the region. Pakistan was key ally of US in the war on terror, he said. US would not leave Pakistan alone in these hard times", he underlined. All the possible measures would be taken for rehabilitation of the persons who had been displaced in the wake of military operation, he added.

US holds in high esteem the endeavors being made by Pakistan for the establishment of peace in the region, he maintained.

He underlined arrival of more US troops in Afghanistan would help step up ongoing operation against Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The reservations voiced by Pakistan were just but all possible steps would be taken to prevent Taliban or other extremists from entering into Pakistan from across Afghanistan, he assured.