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Zardari says his government will eliminate Taliban

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday said that his government was determined to eliminate Taliban militants from the region but promised to make every effort to keep collateral damage to the minimum.

world Updated: May 11, 2009 10:52 IST

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday said that his government was determined to eliminate Taliban militants from the region but promised to make every effort to keep collateral damage to the minimum.

Addressing mainly Pakistani Americans here, Zardari expressed the hope that they would be able to find a solution while fighting extremism.

"We don't want to make one million dead," he said, while citing the killings that took place in the anti-terror operations in Algiers and in Afghanistan, among other countries.

"We want to avoid bloodshed," so that the effect was minimal and a solution found. "This moment calls for a lot of courage and at the same time a lot of thinking,” he told the audience.

Zardari likened the al-Qaeda with a monster and sought international support in eliminating it. The monster had bit Pakistan, it bit the US and also the world at large, he said.

Zardari said he would do his utmost so that Pakistan reaches its full potential. "We have to come together and save Pakistan. Democracy was a part of the solution and a starting points to resolving all the problems facing the country."

Pakistan, he said, needs 10 years of peace and sustained international economic support to reach its full potential. The government, he said, was working hard towards that end. "Pakistan was key state and should get the attention and support of the world."

Referring to his talks with President Barack Obama and other administration officials and congressional leaders in Washington, he said they have now a better understanding of Pakistan's point of view.

The visit, he said, was successful. He could speak to them with confidence as the elected leader of Pakistan and who has the confidence of nation's parliament.

About drone attacks, the President said he has asked the Obama administration to provide Pakistan with the technology and Pakistan would itself take action against the militants. But he said the talks were ongoing and no decision has yet been taken.