US privately backing sharia-deal between Pak Government and Taliban?

February 19th, 2009 - 2:40 pm ICT by ANI  


Lahore, Feb. 19 (ANI): The sharia deal between Pakistan Government and Taliban, which requires Taliban to end their bloody campaign after introduction of Islamic sharia courts in the Malakand and Kohistan districts of Swat, may enjoy private backing from the US. US officials in Islamabad privately backed the deal as it sees it as the attempt to drive a wedge between Swats Taliban, and the Al Qaeda-linked Taliban led by Baitullah Mehsud, The Daily Telegraph reports. The strategy has to be to divide the two groups. The TNSM (Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi) and Baitullahs TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban of Pakistan) found some common cause briefly, but a peace deal will separate them, said one US official. One source suggested it reflected the smart power thinking outlined by Hillary Clinton in her Senate confirmation hearing as secretary of state. However, NATO fears the deal would create a new safe haven for extremists, a spokesman for the alliance had said on Tuesday. A statement from Britains High Commission in Islamabad had said: Previous peace deals have not provided a comprehensive and long-term solution to Swats problems. We need to be confident that they will end violence, not create space for further violence. The US presidents special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan had earlier voiced great concern over the spiraling strength of the Taliban in the region, and the scare its brutal tactics were causing among Swat residents. I talked to people from Swat and they were, frankly, quite terrified. Swat has really deeply affected the people of Pakistan, not just in Peshawar but in Lahore and Islamabad, Richard Holbrooke had said. (ANI)

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