'Taliban militants have presence in Quetta'
A top US diplomat on Wednesday said that the Taliban militants have a presence in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, and asked the Pakistan government to take action against them.world Updated: Oct 21, 2009 19:06 IST
A top US diplomat on Wednesday said that the Taliban militants have a presence in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, and asked the Pakistan government to take action against them.
"They have their existence in Quetta and the government of Pakistan should root them out from here," US Consul General in Karachi Stephen Fakan told reporters.
Fakan warned that a Waziristan-like situation might develop in Balochistan if "necessary action" is not taken against the Taliban in Quetta.
He said even Pakistani leaders had acknowledged the presence of the Taliban in Quetta.
"They pass over the borders between Afghanistan and Balochistan and even some members of your own government have said that they know (the militants) travel to Karachi and Islamabad. They move all around the country," he said.
The Taliban regrouped in Balochistan after being flushed out of Afghanistan, he said, adding that the US does not want the Taliban to gain a foothold in Balochistan in the way they had in Pakistan's tribal areas.
Besides, the US fears that the Taliban might enter Balochistan if they faced pressure in the tribal belt,he said.
Earlier this month, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US embassy Gerald M Feierstein had said that al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is based in Pakistan's tribal belt and senior Taliban leaders operating from Quetta were playing a key role in fomenting unrest in Afghanistan.