Pak seeks clarity
Pakistan needs more information on US plans for Afghanistan before it will decide on its position toward them, the Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said.world Updated: Dec 04, 2009 00:32 IST
Pakistan needs more information on US plans for Afghanistan before it will decide on its position toward them, the Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Thursday.
Gilani said Pakistan was looking into the implications of the troop surge announced by U.S. president Barack Obama in a major speech on Tuesday — including the suggestion that more CIA resources would be deployed to Pakistan.
“Regarding the new policy of president Obama, we are studying that policy,” Gilani said during a joint news conference with his British counterpart Gordon Brown in London. “We need more clarity on it, and when we get more clarity on it we can see what we can implement on that plan.”
Gilani said that General Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would be visiting Pakistan at some point in the future to discuss the plans.
Gilani has been lukewarm to the idea of a troop surge, saying he fears it would merely push Afghan militants into Pakistan. The U.S. and Britain have been putting tremendous pressure on Pakistan to root out the militants already on its side of the border, in a lawless area from which they frequently attack NATO and Afghan troops.
Speaking before Gilani, Brown said he was pledging $83 million in new funding to help Pakistan pacify the region.
Brown said the money would go into Pakistan’s program to help re-establish its control over the chaotic border region, which he has identified as the source of three-quarters of the terrorist plots that have targeted Britain since 2001.
“I’m pleased today to confirm my offer of a further $83 million to back your plans for long-term stabilisation of the border areas,” Brown said.
Brown said that aid being provided by Britain would go into reconstruction, education and the relocation of people displaced in the fighting.
Gilani is in London for talks with the British leader, who has lobbied the country to do more to find the Al Qaeda leaders believed to be hiding out in the border region.
Brown told the BBC on Sunday that with more troops being sent to Afghanistan, Pakistan needs “to be able to show that it can take on Al Qaeda.” Gilani, for his part, said Thursday that he didn’t believe that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan.