Taliban, Al Qaeda could spread globally: Zardari
The Taliban and the Al Qaeda could spread in other parts of the world if they were not defeated in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has warned.world Updated: Jun 22, 2009 15:49 IST
The Taliban and the Al Qaeda could spread in other parts of the world if they were not defeated in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has warned.
"Pakistan and the world community cannot afford defeat in the war against terror," Zardari wrote in The Washington Post Monday.
Zardari also asked for urgent international assistance, arguing that the world should rally in support of Pakistani democracy.
"We need immediate assistance, Pakistan paid a heavy price more than US and NATO in the anti-terror war," the president wrote.
In this context, he noted that US President Barack Obama's administration had recognised that only an economically viable Pakistan could contain the threat of terrorism and had committed $1.5 billion a year for five years to help stabilise Pakistan's economy.
"Now, the rest of the world must step up and match the US effort," Zardari wrote, adding: "Pakistan needs a robust assistance package so that we can deliver for the people and defeat the militants."
He also called for international assistance in helping Pakistan deal with the millions of people displaced by the military's anti-Taliban operations in the country's restive northwest.
Some three million civilians have been displaced by the operations in three districts of the North West Frontier Province that entered their 57th day Monday.
To go by military figures, close to 1,500 Taliban have been killed in the fighting in the Swat, Buner and Lower Dir districts of NWFP. There is, however, no independent confirmation of this as the media has been barred from the battle zone.
The fighting has now spread to spread to South Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan.
South Waziristan is the headquarters of Baitullah Mehsud, who heads the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the umbrella group of various Taliban groups operating in the country.
Mehsud is also accused of having a hand in the Dec 27, 2007, gun and bomb attack that killed former prime minister Benazir Bhutto as she left a political rally in the garrison town of Rawalpindi adjacent to Islamabad.