UK's Brown seeks new approach on Pakistan border
British PM Gordon Brown said he will press Pakistan to allow US and NATO troops in Afghanistan to take a new approach to hunting Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants.Updated: Sep 12, 2008, 00:58 IST
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Thursday he will press Pakistan to allow US and NATO troops in Afghanistan to take a new approach to hunting Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants who slip back and forth between the neighboring nations. Brown told a London news conference that he will talk with Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari, within days to draw up a revised strategy on halting the flow of fighters across the border. US President George W Bush and Brown discussed strategy on Afghanistan in a video conference call Thursday, the British leader's office said.
"What's happening on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan is something where we need to develop a new strategy," Brown said. "We are trying to prevent people from moving back and forward," he said, referring to those responsible for attacks on NATO and US forces.
He offered no specifics on how the border could be defended better.
Pakistan's new government is stepping up its military campaign against militants in parts of the country's northwest believed to be safe havens for Taliban and al-Qaida-linked insurgents. But some Pakistani officials have criticized cross-border raids there by American troops.
Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan's military chief, said a raid last week by the U.S. into Pakistan's South Waziristan region killed innocent civilians _ an error that could stoke militancy rather than disrupt it.
Brown said he will discuss policing of the Afghan-Pakistan border with Zardari when the newly elected president visits London next week.
"The insecurity on the border, and the porousness of the border, ... is a problem for both countries and we have got to approach this with a new security strategy and that is one of the things we are discussing at the moment," Brown said.
The British leader's office said Bush and Brown discussed the opportunities for better cooperation on Afghanistan with the new Pakistan government. They also talked about operations in Iraq, Brown's office said.
"The two leaders discussed the need to remain committed to the fight against extremists," said Gordon Johndroe, Bush's national security spokesman.
An informal meeting of NATO defense ministers in London next Thursday and Friday will also discuss operations in Afghanistan.