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US Senator questions Pak willingness to act against Taliban

world Updated: Feb 27, 2009 15:36 IST
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An influential US Senator has questioned the commitment and willingness of Islamabad to take head on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and charged the official machinery in Pakistan of providing crucial assistance to its leaders.

"For many reasons, I question whether Pakistan has the political will or the capability to take on the Taliban and other militants. Evidence of their unwillingness or inability to do so has been clear and longstanding," said Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.

Levin, who convened a hearing on "Strategic Options for the Way Ahead in Afghanistan and Pakistan," said there have been reports for some that the Afghan Taliban council meets in Quetta and from there plans attacks in southern Afghanistan.

"The militant Baitullah Mehsud, suspected of orchestrating the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, holds an open press conference in South Waziristan," he pointed out.

"To make matters worse, the Pakistan government inflames opposition to the United States with their strong public criticism of our air strikes," Levin charged.