US opposes Pakistan’s intended talks with militants

March 28th, 2008 - 12:58 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto
DPA
Islamabad, March 27 (DPA) A senior US official Thursday opposed the new Pakistani government’s intended talks with pro-Taliban militants who have launched a series of suicide attacks on security forces in recent months. “I don’t see how you can talk to those kind of people,” said US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, adding they “want to destroy our way of life”.

He said the “extremist threat” in Pakistan was a cause of great concern.

“It occurs not only in federally administered tribal areas but it has spread to the settled areas,” he told reporters in the southern city of Karachi at the end of his four-day visit to the country.

Pakistan’s tribal areas are believed to be safe havens for Al Qaeda and Taliban militants, who fled to the area after the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

More than 1,000 people, including hundreds of Pakistani security personnel, have died in the suicide bombings by pro-Taliban militants over the last 12 months.

Pakistan’s new coalition government, headed by slain Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, has vowed to hold talks with the militants while emphasising a “comprehensive strategy” in dealing with growing militancy in tribal areas along Afghanistan border.

This could be a departure from the hard-handed policies of President Pervez Musharraf, a key US ally in the war against terrorism, and reportedly the reason for the visit of Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher.

The two officials reportedly tried to convince the new government and the coalition partners, including Musharraf’s bitter rival and ex-premier Nawaz Sharif, to continue Islamabad’s current policies on war against terrorism.
DPA

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