Pakistan needs several years to curb militancy: US

May 25th, 2008 - 1:12 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, May 25 (IANS) Pakistan needs several years to defeat Al Qaeda-linked terrorists operating in its tribal region along the Afghan border, the Pentagon has warned. This apart, the peace talks between the Pakistani government and tribal militants will make it easier for terrorists to cross the border, the commander of the US forces in Afghanistan has warned.

“We are troubled by the negotiations and the possibility of yet another peace deal in the northwest,” Dawn Sunday quoted Gen. Dan McNeill as saying in a dispatch from Washington.

“We must keep our eyes on Pakistan. It seems to me to be very dysfunctional right now,” McNeill added.

In a report sent to Congress on Friday, the US Defence Department said Pakistan had deployed 30,000 additional troops in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) last year and made significant efforts to eliminate Al Qaeda safe havens in the region.

In spite of this, “it is troubling” that safe havens in FATA “have grown in recent years”, the report said.

It made no reference to Pakistan’s negotiations with militants but noted that Al Qaeda and other extremists continued to hide in FATA, where they were able to recruit, train, and target US and western interests.

The report warned that it might take several years before Pakistan succeeded in implementing a comprehensive strategy to render the tribal areas permanently inhospitable to terrorists.

“It may be several years before Pakistan’s comprehensive strategy to render the remote tribal areas permanently inhospitable to terrorists, insurgents and other violent extremists can be measured for success.”

The report also claimed that seminaries in Pakistan continued to promote jihad and martyrdom and provided potential operatives for acts of violence in Afghanistan.

The report noted that the US was working with Pakistan on a six-year programme to help strengthen the Pakistani military and security forces but cautioned that it would take time to implement the plan.

Besides building new training facilities for the Frontier Corps, the US was also providing anti-insurgency training to Pakistani commandos, the report said.

The US was also funding the creation of a 700-member special force of Pashtun tribesmen that would act as a rapid response force for dealing with emergencies.

The Pentagon had provided $150 million this year for these programmes and was seeking another $200 million for next year, the report said.

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