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US wants Pakistan to control tribal areas

It is in the interest of Pakistan that the Govt be able to exercise its sovereignty throughout the country, US State Dept spokesman Sean McCormack said.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2006 12:07 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The United States wants Pakistan to extend its control to tribal areas in the country so as to deny Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups safe havens to plan and launch terrorist attacks against Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"It is in the interest of Pakistan and the Pakistani people that the government be able to exercise its sovereignty throughout all of Pakistan," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters in response to a question about a reported peace agreement with pro-Taliban militants in the North Waziristan region.

He was unaware of the agreement, he said but noted, "This is an area that traditionally has not been under the control of the central government, so this is a historical problem, I think, in Pakistan.

"Certainly everybody understands the importance of not having safe havens where you can have these ungoverned areas where Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, other terrorist groups can plan and launch terrorist attacks not only against Afghans and international forces in Afghanistan but against Pakistanis and Pakistan."

"President Pervez Musharraf has a healthy appreciation for that. Certainly we want to be as supportive as we can in his efforts to build up those democratic political institutions in Pakistan," he said.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had talked to President Musharraf about his approach in the tribal areas during their last meeting.

He then told her how he was going to bring about an integrated civilian military-political approach to the tribal areas to try to work with them, work on development in the tribal areas as well as on the security aspect. So, it was a Pakistani proposal.

"Afghanistan and Pakistan have a shared interest in seeing that that border is controlled. Like I said, it's in everybody's interest if they're not being safe havens along that border.

So I know that has been a source of tension in the past between Afghanistan and Pakistan," McCormack said.

"What we have done -- what we have tried to do is encourage them to talk and to work together and to solve problems as opposed to -- and solve them privately as opposed to trying to do it in public, which is sometimes a little bit harder," he added.

First Published: Sep 06, 2006 11:52 IST