Pakistan, US vow to enhance cooperation against terrorism (Lead)

May 19th, 2010 - 11:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, May 19 (DPA) Pakistan and the US Wednesday vowed to enhance cooperation to foil future terrorist attack as top US security officials briefed Islamabad on the probe into a botched bombing in New York early this month, a government statement said.
The US National Security Advisor James L Jones and US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Leon Panetta met Pakistani President Asif Ali, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and military chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani hours after their arrival on two-day visit in Islamabad.

The visiting officials “provided an update on the ongoing investigation into the Times Square terrorist incident”, said a joint statement issued from Zardari’s office.

“The talks covered measures that both countries are, and will be, taking to confront the common threat we face from extremists and prevent such potential attacks from occurring again,” the statement said further.

Zardari told the US officials that “militancy and terrorism was the common enemy,” calling for more cooperation to “fight the menace”.

The US law enforcement agencies have charged Faisal Shahzad, an American national of Pakistani origin for failed attempt to blow up an explosive-laden vehicle at Times Square.

Shahzad’s arrest has sparked a new debate in the US about Pakistan’s seriousness in uprooting the Taliban militancy from its territory.

The Times Square terror suspect frequently travelled to Pakistan. His most recent trip lasted at least five months. However, the Pakistani intelligence community failed to spy on his activities during that time.

It is believed that he was financially assisted by the Pakistani Taliban, based in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas near Afghan border. The group also provided him training in explosive handling.

Pakistan has recently launched several military offensives along its Afghan border to purge those regions of militants. But it has, so far, failed to completely eliminate the rebels.

The US has expressed appreciation with Pakistan’s efforts, but has also demanded military action in North Waziristan, considered a stronghold of the Haqqani group, one of the oldest militant entities, with close ties to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The officials noted during the Wednesday’s meeting “the extreme challenge of thwarting each and every plot and terrorist action”, but “pledged to intensify efforts” to protect the people.

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