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Obama warns Pak over extremist links

US President Barack Obama accused Pakistan on Thursday of hedging its bets on Afghanistan’s future and warned there were “some connections” between its intelligence services and extremists.

world Updated: Oct 07, 2011 00:47 IST

US President Barack Obama accused Pakistan on Thursday of hedging its bets on Afghanistan’s future and warned there were “some connections” between its intelligence services and extremists.

“I think they have hedged their bets in terms of what Afghanistan would look like and part of hedging their bets is having interactions with some of the unsavory characters who they think might end up regaining power in Afghanistan after coalition forces have left,” Obama told a White House news conference.

“What we’ve tried to persuade Pakistan of is that it is in their interest to have a stable Afghanistan, that they should not be feeling threatened by a stable, independent Afghanistan,” he added.

But Obama acknowledged that there was still some work to be done.

“And there is no doubt that there’s some connections the Pakistani military and intelligence services have with certain individuals that we find troubling,” he told White House journalists.

The US administration has stepped up calls on Islamabad in recent weeks to break ties with the al Qaeda linked Haqqani network, blamed for last month’s attack on the US embassy in Kabul.

Islamabad has denied any links between the Haqqanis and its intelligence services.

But Obama said Pakistan saw its “security interest threatened by an independent Afghanistan, in part because they think it will ally itself to India and Pakistan still considers India their mortal enemy.”

“Part of what we want to do is actually get Pakistan to realize that a peaceful approach towards India would be in everybody’s interests.”

Obama highlighted some of the pressing problems that Pakistan is facing such as poverty, illiteracy, a lack of development and weak civil institutions.

“And in that environment, you’ve seen extremism grow, you’ve seen militancy that threatens the Pakistani government and Pakistani people as well. Trying to get that reorientation is something we continue to work on. It is not easy.”

Restrictions on Osama family lifted by Pak

A Pakistani commission investigating the US raid which killed Osama bin Laden on Thursday lifted travel restrictions on the al Qaeda chief's family but said a doctor who helped US intelligence should be tried for treason.

The inquiry commission investigating how bin Laden lived undetected for years in Pakistan said it had taken statements and investigated his wives and daughters.

In a statement it said, “they are no more required to the commission... restraining order may be treated as withdrawn to the extent of bin Laden's family.”

The commission in July ordered the women and children to remain in Pakistan until further notice, indicating that it wanted to question them. afp