Pakistan moves 100,000 troops from border with India: Pentagon | world | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan moves 100,000 troops from border with India: Pentagon

Pakistan has moved 100,000 troops from its borders with India, thinning the lines, to bolster its campaign against Taliban and other militants on its restive border with Afghanistan, the Pentagon said today.

world Updated: Apr 29, 2010 15:44 IST

Pakistan has moved 100,000 troops from its borders with India, thinning the lines, to bolster its campaign against Taliban and other militants on its restive border with Afghanistan, the Pentagon said today.

The mass shifting of troops is an acknowledgement of the fact that terrorism and internal insurgency were posing more threat to Pakistan now, the Pentagon said in a report to the US Congress.

"More than 100,000 PAKMIL troops were moved from the eastern border with India. This unprecedented deployment and thinning of the lines against India indicates that Islamabad has acknowledged its domestic insurgent threat," the department said in its latest report on Afghanistan.

The Pentagon did not specify the regions' from where the troops had been pulled out, but said it estimated that more than 140,000 Pakistani forces were now taking part in the ongoing offensive against the Taliban in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal region, known as FATA.

The Pentagon report was issued hours before the crucial meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani in the Bhutanese capital Thimphu on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit.

The US Defence Department while acknowledging that Pakistani military operations in tribal areas of NWFP had placed "a high degree of pressure on militants and reduced their safe havens", but was unlikely to have an immediate impact on the US-led war in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon report said that there was a broad syndicate of extremist groups operating in the AfPak region with multiple short and long term goals.

It identified the groups as al Qaeda, Tehreek-e-Taliban and Lashkar-e Taiba (LeT) which it said threatened security of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and elsewhere.

"The three major groups include the Quetta Shura Taliban, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), and the Haqqani Network (HQN). These groups cooperate and coordinate at times and their areas of operations tend to be geographically and demographically determined," it said.

"They operate mainly in the Pashtun-majority areas of Afghanistan in the south and east, and in Pashtun pockets in the north. The common goals of these groups are to expel foreign forces from Afghanistan (although there is no mention of foreign fighters allied with them or al Qaeda) and to undermine the central government," the report added.