Al-Qaeda on the run in Pakistan: Qureshi | world | Hindustan Times
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Al-Qaeda on the run in Pakistan: Qureshi

world Updated: Jul 02, 2009 21:18 IST

PTI
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Pakistan has claimed that it has turned the tide in its battle against Taliban and al-Qaeda with 95 per cent of the Swat and Malakand areas had been cleared of Islamist militias.

"I think we've turned the tide and democracy has played a significant role," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Qureshi said 95 per cent of the Swat and Malakand areas, which were seized by extremists, had been cleared of Islamist militias since a government offensive began in May.

"As we've put on the pressure, the militants have realigned. We are taking them all on. We are not picking between a bad and a good terrorist. A terrorist is a terrorist," he said.

The army has eliminated a lot of the second and third tier leadership and that has hit their effectiveness, and their capacity to regroup and counter-attack is diminishing gradually, he added.

Claiming that public opinion had turned decisively against the extremists over the last few months, paving the way for the government's military successes, the Foreign Minister said "today, public opinion has converted to such an extent that the local tribes have set up lashkars (militias) to support army operations."