Pak troops deployed along Pak-Afghan borders: Qureshi
Pakistan has deployed 1.42 lakh troops along the restive borders with Afghanistan to contain Taliban and al-Qaeda surge and so far lost over 2,200 military personnel in the operations against the militants, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in Beijing on Tuesday.world Updated: Feb 23, 2010 21:41 IST
Pakistan has deployed 1.42 lakh troops along the restive borders with Afghanistan to contain Taliban and al-Qaeda surge and so far lost over 2,200 military personnel in the operations against the militants, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in Beijing on Tuesday.
In the operations, more than 7,000 terrorists have been killed and over 9,000 miscreants apprehended, Qureshi said.
Speaking on 'Pakistan’s Challenges and Our Response' at the China Institute of International Studies here, he said over 2,200 soldiers were killed and 6,251 others injured in the operations.
"This number is greater than the combined casualties of all the NATO countries. In addition to this, thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children in Pakistan, have fallen victims to terror in the past eight years," he underlined.
"According to conservative estimates, in the past eight years, we have lost more than USD 50 billion in the prosecution of war against terrorism," he said, adding that it has denied Pakistani youth their full potential to grow and educate themselves. "Yet we have persevered," he said.
Qureshi said Pakistan army conducted successful operations to secure Swat and adjoining Malakan Division where the government writ has now been restored.
"A full scale operation in South Waziristan launched in October 2009 has also been successful," he said.
Qureshi, who is on a five-day visit to China, said international terrorism by its very definition involves many nations. "So in order to succeed we must all succeed and ideally more or less at the same time," he underlined.
"There would be no partial, selective victories..The problem originates from Afghanistan. If it is fixed there we will be able to deal with its other geographical and regional ramifications. If al-Qaeda is defeated in Afghanistan it will not be able to strike roots elsewhere," the Foreign Minister said.
He said in the recent years there is a remarkable improvement in the relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, apparently referring to the Karzai-led government's allegations in the past accusing Islamabad of patronising Taliban, clouding the relations between the two countries.
"Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in November last year attended inauguration of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. The Tripartite Commission which brings together military officials of Pakistan, Afghanistan and NATO resumed its meetings," he said.
Qureshi said in his talks with Chinese leadership he pressed for full membership of Pakistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, (SCO). Both India and Pakistan have observer status in the SCO.
Praising China for its economic assistance to Pakistan, Qureshi said Beijing also played a positive role in Afghanistan with projects to create jobs and livelihood.