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US watching Pak deal with militants: Bush

india Updated: Sep 08, 2006 11:27 IST
Reuters
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A peace deal between Pakistan and pro-Taliban militants does not give "safe haven" to terrorists who may be hiding on tribal lands near the Pakistani-Afghan border, US President George W Bush said in an interview.

"I don't read it that way," Bush said of the agreement Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's government signed on Tuesday in which the militants agreed to stop attacks in the region.

"What he is doing is entering agreements with governors in the regions of the country, in the hopes that there would be an economic vitality, there will be alternatives to violence and terror," Bush said in an ABC News interview.

Hundreds of Pakistani troops and militants have been killed in the Waziristan region as the Pakistani government has attempted to push its authority into semi-autonomous tribal lands on the Afghan border as part of efforts in the US-led war on terrorism.

Many members of the Al-Qaeda network and the Taliban fled to Waziristan after US-led forces overthrew the Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001. Tuesday's agreement said foreigners could stay in Waziristan as long as they kept the peace.

Bush said he did not know all the details of the agreement but added that he would be seeing Musharraf "pretty soon."

"You know, we are watching this very carefully, obviously," Bush said. "We have made it clear that, uh, he should not provide an environment that enables people to go from his country into Afghanistan."

"I will tell you this: President Musharraf, in my conversations with him, and I talk to him quite frequently, fully understands, and does not want his country to become a launching pad for military actions against neighbours and/or US troops," Bush said.

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