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Musharraf tackling terrorism well: Rumsfeld

However, the US Defence Secretary sidestepped charges that Islamabad had not done enough to flush out the Taliban.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2006 12:06 IST

US Defence Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld has lavished praises on the Pakistani president's campaign against terrorism, but sidestepped charges that Islamabad had not done enough to flush out the Taliban.

Speaking at a security conference, Rumsfeld describedPervez Musharraf as a "courageous man" who understands the danger of terrorism.

"President Musharraf has done an excellent job in a difficult country in a difficult environment, and is clearly dedicated to defeating terror," Rumsfeld said.

He was answering a question on whether he, in his speech earlier, was right in praising Musharraf as a key player in the fight against terrorism. "I think I am right," he said.

It was suggested that Musharrafdid not deserve the praise as Afghan leaders have accused Pakistan of failing to crack down on Taliban militants hiding in tribal areas.

Rumsfeld said that "there is a lot of history" between the two neighbours working to "sort through some of their historical differences and some of the current perspectives that differ".

Rumsfeld said that Musharraf's security forces had been "highly successful" in rooting out extremists from urban areas, but acknowledged that they have been nowhere near as successful in controlling the problem in tribal areas.

But Musharraf was increasing the capability to deal with extremists, he said, adding that he could understand Afghan President Hamid Karzai's concerns.

Rumsfeld also praised Karzai. "He's got a poor country. He has got a border where people who object to his government exist and periodically attack him and his government."

First Published: Jun 03, 2006 09:51 IST