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Swat fallout: US has let known its displeasure to Pak

The US has let known Pakistan that its latest move to go ahead to enforce Shariah law in the Swat Valley as part of a peace agreement with the Taliban is not seen by the country as a step in the right direction.

world Updated: Apr 16, 2009 08:13 IST

The US has let known Pakistan that its latest move to go ahead to enforce Shariah law in the Swat Valley as part of a peace agreement with the Taliban is not seen by the country as a step in the right direction.

Both before and after the peace deal was signed into law by Zardari, the views of the Obama Administration had been communicated to Pakistani establishment including the military and Zardari's signature on Nizam-e-Adl is clearly seen by the State Department and White House as a move towards defiance.

However, given the sensitivity of the matter and US' stake in the region, the Obama Administration officials have preferred to refrain from making public comment on this issue, except that the United States is disappointed.

But its opposition to such a peace deal has been communicated to top officials in Islamabad, insiders in the State Department familiar with the issue said.

What is of immediate concern for the Obama Administration that unhindered sway to the Taliban in Swat Valley, because of the peace deal, would give the extremists including al-Qaeda to concentrate in a much more effective way against the US forces in Afghanistan.

The US plans to send additional 21,000 troops in the more volatile southern parts of the country.

This could result in more casualties of the US troops. To a query during press briefing, State Department Spokesman Robert Wood said the US would like to deal with the terrorists the other way round, instead of entering into a peace deal.

"We believe that extremists, violent extremists, need to be confronted, and we've made that very clear," Wood said. "We're very concerned about parliament's decision yesterday with regard to the question of women's rights. We're going to continue to have discussions with the Government of Pakistan on these issues," he said.

"I just want to reiterate the point that our view is violent extremists need to be confronted, and the Government of Pakistan is aware of our concerns about this issue," Wood said.

The White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Tuesday said the Administration is "disappointed" with the decision of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to sign into law the controversial peace deal with the Taliban, which would enforce Islamic Shariah law in the Swat Valley.

"The (Obama) Administration believes solutions involving security in Pakistan don't include less democracy and less human rights. The signing of that denoting strict Islamic law in the Swat Valley -- goes against both of those principles," Gibbs said.

"We're disappointed that the (Pakistani) Parliament didn't take into account the legitimate concerns around civil and human rights," he said.

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