US reviewing policies towards Pakistan, Afghanistan: Obama

March 4th, 2009 - 10:20 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, March 4 (IANS) US President Barack Obama has expressed deep concern about an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan, saying the country’s frontier regions still remain safe havens for Al Qaeda terrorists and his government was reviewing policies towards that region.

The US State Department too called Tuesday’s attack in Lahore that left six players and a British coach wounded and killed at least eight Pakistanis as a “vicious attack on innocent civilians.”

“The details are still coming in, and so I don’t want to be too specific,” Obama told reporters Tuesday after meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. “Obviously we’re deeply concerned.”

“Both Great Britain and the United States share a deep interest in ensuring that neither Afghanistan nor Pakistan are safe havens for terrorist activity.”

“The truth is that the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated, the safe havens for Al Qaeda remain in the frontier regions of Pakistan and we are conducting currently a comprehensive review of our policies,” he said.

Obama said the review looked at US policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan and coordination with NATO allies and other members of the international security force in Afghanistan.

He would make announcements ahead of the NATO summit in April about “the direction the United States would like to go,” he said. “What I’m confident in is that our strongest partner in that effort once again will be the United Kingdom” and Brown.

State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid condemned the first deadly attack targeted a foreign sports team in Pakistan as a “vicious attack on innocent civilians” as well as the positive relations between Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

“We condemn this vicious attack on innocent civilians but also on the positive relations that Pakistan and Sri Lanka are trying to enjoy,” he said. “This is an attack on peaceful, normal relations, and we utterly condemn this terrorist attack.”

“The Pakistani police, I am given to understand, were extremely brave in protecting their charges and should be commended,” Duguid said sending condolences to the families of the victims and the wounded.

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