Obama to meet with Afghan, Pakistani leaders

May 2nd, 2009 - 5:16 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, May 2 (DPA) US President Barack Obama will meet Wednesday with the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan for talks aimed at developing a common strategy for combating the Taliban and Al Qaeda and stabilizing the border region between the two countries.
Since taking office, Obama has sought a comprehensive approach towards defeating the resilient Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan by addressing the safe haven the militants use in remote areas of Pakistan to launch attacks against US, NATO and Afghan forces.

Obama will hold a three-way meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari as well as have separate meetings with the two leaders.

“The president looks forward to discussing with these two democratically elected leaders how we can work together to enhance our cooperation in this important part of the world,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

The US has been frustrated by Pakistan’s alleged slow response to the threats posed by the Taliban and within its borders and its willingness to cut deals with the extremist militants. Alarm peaked in Washington last week as the Taliban moved into a district a mere 100 km from the capital Islamabad.

The Pakistani military launched an assault to push the Taliban from that position. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has stated the Taliban goal is to overthrow Pakistan’s democratically elected government and impose strict Islamic code on the country, as it has done in areas already under its control.

Obama has ordered an additional 17,000 US troops to Afghanistan this year to strengthen combat operations against the Taliban.

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