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Deal effectively with terror: Bush to Pak

The US president serves notice on the Pak president to deal with the terror network operating inside his country.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2007 15:33 IST

US President George Bush has served notice on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf "to better be able" to deal with the problem of terrorists and extremists operating inside his country.

The US is helping Musharraf equip Pakistani security forces that are patrolling the border regions with Afghanistan, while working with Islamabad and Kabul to increase cooperation in the fight against terror, he said Thursday.

"President Musharraf is going to better be able to now deal with this problem," Bush said in a speech before the American Enterprise Institute announcing a new six-point plan to help Afghanistan establish a stable, moderate, democratic state.

"US Defence Secretary Bob Gates (who) went out and visited Musharraf recently, had a good response. He's an ally in this war on terror and it's in our interest to support him in fighting the extremists," Bush said.

He said 3,200 more US troops being deployed to Afghanistan would help NATO forces launch a spring offensive against the Taliban. He was also asking the US Congress for $11.8 billion over the next two years to help the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai.

A part of US strategy "is to help President Musharraf defeat the terrorists and extremists who operate inside of Pakistan. We're going to work with Pakistan and Afghanistan to enhance cooperation to defeat what I would call a common enemy", he said.

"Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters do hide in remote regions of Pakistan - this is wild country; this is wilder than the Wild West. And these folks hide and recruit and launch attacks."

"The President (Musharraf) understands our desire to work with him to eliminate this kind of action. He also understands that extremists can destabilise countries on the border, or destabilise countries from which they launch their attacks," Bush said.

US is helping Musharraf in his "frontier strategy" to find and eliminate the extremists and deliver a better governance and economic opportunity as "it's in our interest to help him", he said.

"We provided him - we're helping him equip his security forces that are patrolling the border regions with Afghanistan. We're funding construction of more than 100 border outposts, which will provide their forces with better access to remote regions of this part of the country."

"We've given him high-tech equipment to help the Pakistani forces locate the terrorists attempting to cross the border. We're funding an air wing, with helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, to give Pakistan better security, better swift response and better surveillance," Bush said.

Later at his daily briefing, White House spokesman Tony Snow said he could not say whether President Musharraf's strategy to check cross border attacks into Afghanistan had failed, but "We're certainly concerned about it".

"And so is President Musharraf. It is very important to try to deal with the violence coming across the Pakistani border into Afghanistan for the purposes of supporting those who are trying to bring down the government of Afghanistan," he said.

Asked if Musharraf was doing enough, Snow said, "... we continue to work with President Musharraf. It's - I'm not even sure that's an answerable question, to be honest, because you figure out - it implies a standard of perfection. In a time of war, you constantly have to be dealing with unknowns, you have to deal with a series of shifting challenges."

Asked if White House officials were not happy with the results they've seen from Pakistan, Snow said: "Again, I think - I avoid characterizations like that because I think it creates an impression of political conflict between states."

Bush understands that Musharraf and Karzai "sometimes clash, but on the other hand, they've got a common interest in dealing with the problem of terror in the region... and they're going to continue to - they're gong to work together," Snow said.

"There are going to be some challenges in the bilateral relationship, but in the end, having a large and vigorous terror network is in the interests of neither," he said.

"The president early on was talking with Presidents Musharraf and Karzai about the importance of working together and dealing with issues of border security. We certainly - we're taking a look at everything from poppy cultivation to the importance of trying to put an end to, or at least slow down cross-border incursions," Snow said.

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