No ground troops into Pakistan: Obama

March 30th, 2009 - 12:55 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, March 29 (IANS) US President Barack Obama has said he would consult Pakistan’s leadership before targeting militants in that country, even as he made it clear that his administration has no plans to send ground troops into Pakistani territory.
“Our plan does not change the recognition of Pakistan as a sovereign government. We need to work with them and through them to deal with Al Qaeda. But we have to hold them much more accountable,” Obama said in an interview with the CBS television Sunday.

Asked if he might order US forces across the border into Pakistan to attack or capture insurgents hiding in safe havens there, Obama said he would take the Pakistani leadership into confidence if need arises.

“If we have a high-value target within our sights, after consulting with Pakistan, we’re going after them. But our main thrust has to be to help Pakistan defeat these extremists,” he told Bob Schieffer, the host of CBS’s Face The Nation show.

The interview was filmed Friday when he announced a major policy review on Afghanistan and Pakistan saying the situation on their border was “increasingly perilous”.

The US president also said his government would “refocus attention on Al Qaeda” in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

On his recent decision to increase US troops in Afghanistan, Obama said his administration was determined to defeat Taliban and Al Qeada in the troubled nation.

“I think it’s America’s war. What we want to do is to refocus attention on Al Qaeda. We are going to root out their networks, their bases. We are gonna make sure that they cannot attack US citizens, US soil, US interests, and our allies’ interests around the world,” he said.

Both Afghanistan and Pakistan have welcomed Obama’s new strategy for the region, which includes plans for 4,000 more troops to be sent to Afghanistan, as well as increased development aid for border areas of Pakistan.

Islamabad meanwhile urged the US to halt cross-border missile strikes by unmanned Predator drone aircraft.

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