Pak tribal areas safe haven for militants

May 8th, 2008 - 1:44 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 8 (ANI): US Foreign Affairs Committee chairman has said that the tribal regions of Pakistan provide safe haven for thousands of militants and terrorists who seek not only to destabilise Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan, but who also plan attacks around the globe.

Committee chairman Howard L. Berman said that it was imperative that US foreign policy towards Pakistan be reviewed to find out what was working, what was not, and how a new administration should approach this critical region.

He said that with a change in leadership in Islamabad, the US should make fresh attempts to forge a new relationship with Pakistan.

With new civilian and military leadership in Pakistan, we now have a chance to establish a sustainable and mutually beneficial bilateral relationship; a relationship that recognises how unfettered extremism poses a threat to Pakistan, its neighbours, and the world; a relationship that focuses on economic and development assistance not as an afterthought but as the necessary foundation to promote long-term growth; and a relationship that adheres to the values that both of our nations inherently share bolstering forces of moderation, holding dear the principles of democracy, and promoting peace and prosperity throughout Pakistan, the Daily Times quoted him as saying.

About the recent peace deals offered by Pakistan government to tribal militants, Berman said that such reports present a challenge for the US. He wondered how the US can balance the need to engage with certain tribal leaders but still hold firm against negotiating with terrorists who will continue to fight US and NATO troops in Afghanistan regardless of any truce.

He was of the view that Washington must remain steadfast in the fight against the irreconcilable forces that wish to attack the US, destabilise the region and return Afghanistan to the regime that gave safe harbour to Al Qaeda and other terrorist elements. However, this approach will require greater co-operation between Pakistan and Afghanistan and a concerted effort to show the Pakistani people that this is not just a fight for America, but also for a secure Pakistan, he added. (ANI)

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