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Pak tribal areas run by Taliban: Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto has asserted that anti-terror operations in the areas ordered by President Musharraf have been unsuccessful.

india Updated: Feb 07, 2006 10:59 IST

Expressing deep concern at the growing writ of Taliban in Pakistan's tribal regions where the militia ruthlessly kill anyone opposed to them, self-exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has asserted that anti-terrorism operations in the areas ordered by President Pervez Musharraf have been unsuccessful.

"I believe that these operations have been unsuccessful, and I am deeply concerned that areas in the sensitive tribal regions are now governed and run by pro-Taliban elements who are ruthlessly killing anybody who stands in their way.

"And when I see the collapse of the writ of government in the tribal areas, and I see the Taliban running the show, I get worried about what's going to happen to Pakistan," she said in an interview to CNN on Sunday night.

"I believe these areas have become sanctuaries for the Taliban," said Bhutto, who is on a speaking tour of the US.

Asked how she would have conducted the anti-terror operations if she were in charge now, Bhutto said she would restore the writ of the government in tribal areas and claimed the situation was different when she was the Prime Minister.

" ... I was told that the drug lords in the tribal areas couldn't be captured because the area is ungovernable, and I said rubbish. I sent in the paramilitary forces, not even the army, the police and the paramilitary officers and soldiers, and we smoked out the drug barons, we undid the drug fields, and we established a writ of government."

"The area is difficult, but one can make a strategy to gain control, and I think it's absolutely wrong that pro-Taliban elements should use our soil to step into Afghanistan, kill American forces, kill the Afghan government officials, and then run back across the border," she said.

First Published: Jan 30, 2006 18:39 IST