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'Britain wants Pakistan to crack down harder on terrorists'

The British Foreign Office's Minister of State responsible for South Asia says Britain wants Pakistan to crack down harder on terrorists, reports Madhur Singh.
Hindustan Times | By Madhur Singh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 18, 2007 07:58 PM IST

Britain wants Pakistan to crack down harder on terrorists operating from its soil, according to the British Foreign Office's Minister of State responsible for South Asia. The current situation is "very dangerous" for Pakistan and for the region, Kim Howells told mediapersons on Friday.

Howells also condemned Friday's blasts in Hyderabad and Guwahati, and pointed out that concerted international action and cooperation is necessary to counter terrorism as it threatens all societies.

While pointing out that there are elements within the current Pakistani government that are "sympathetic towards terrorist outfits", Howells said the problem extends far beyond Pakistan with foreign groups being involved. In addition to the Chechens, Uzbeks and Pashtuns, Howells said Middle Eastern and Saudi money is playing a big role.

Asked about Afghan President Hamid Karzai's accusation that Pakistan is not doing enough to stop terrorists operating on its territory, Howells insisted that President Pervez Musharraf "is trying harder". He added, however, that the presence of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in places like Waziristan is a cause for concern, and said, "We would like to see Pakistan do more."

A US State Department report released earlier this month had pointed out that several terror outfits active in India and Afghanistan, including the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Harakat ul-Mujahedin are operating from Pakistan.

Regarding the situation in Afghanistan, Howells said he was clear that there could be no military victory there, although troops were required in the south. "There are the Taliban, warlords and drug traffickers who want to destroy the fledgling democracy in Kabul," he said.

This is Howell's third visit to India in six months. He arrived in New Delhi after a tour of Assam and West Bengal, where he visited projects aimed at furthering bilateral cooperation in the field of agriculture.

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