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'Pak war against Taliban will be tough fight'

world Updated: May 30, 2009 11:08 IST

As Pakistani military intensified operations against the Taliban in Swat valley and adjoining areas, a top US General has said that it is going to be "a tough fight" for the country whose "very existence" is threatened by the militants.

"Well, clearly, there's going to be a tough fight. But clearly, as well, the Pakistani military has taken on this fight," Gen David Petraeus, Commander of the US Central Command, told Fox News channel.

He was responding to a question about the success of current military operation against the Taliban in the Swat valley and adjoining areas of Pakistan.

"They (Pakistani Army) are doing it because of the threat that the Taliban poses to them and to their country, not because of American interests. The people have come to recognise the Taliban for their repressive practices," Petraeus said.

The Pakistani army is fighting the militants "because the Taliban has come to represent a threat to the very existence of their State."

In fact, Gen Petraeus said: "They very much want to be seen as not fighting our war. They'll take certain assistance, but by no means anything that directly affects the combat operations. There is a fierce pride in their own ability. And a good bit of that is justified."

Gen Petraeus said the Pakistani army currently seems to be determined on their own to carry out this fight against the Taliban. "And we see every reason to expect that they are going to continue to do that," he said.

"We've provided some other logistical supplies and other assistance. We've provided economic assistance," he said.

Defining victory in Afghanistan, the top US military official said: "It will be a country in which there is a government that can deal with its own problems, that has security forces who can shoulder the burdens of securing their country internally and from external threats, a government that is supported by its people because it serves them properly."

However, it is going to take time, and it is going to take a substantial sustained commitment, without question, he observed.