US voices concerns over Pakistan's Swat truce deal
The United States has conveyed strong concern to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari over the truce deal with a Taliban-linked group for enforcing Shariah law in the restive Swat Valley.Updated: Feb 20, 2009 11:19 IST
The United States has conveyed strong concern to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari over the truce deal with a Taliban-linked group for enforcing Shariah law in the restive Swat Valley.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are worried that this deal should not turn into a surrender to the Taliban militants, Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke told Zardari in a telephonic conversation on Thursday.
In an interview to Wolf Blitzer of the CNN, Holbrooke said that he expressed the US concern over the peace deal as it gives the Taliban the authority in a critically important part of the country.
“It’s hard to understand this deal in Swat, the area you’re talking about, less than 100 miles from the capital in Islamabad. President Zardari says it’s an interim arrangement while they stabilize the situation,” he said.
“He (Zardari) doesn’t disagree that the people who are running Swat now are murderous thugs and militants and they pose a danger not only to Pakistan, but to the United States and India,” Holbrooke said.
When specifically asked by Blitzer if Zardari gave him any commitment, Holbrooke said: “That I don’t know. But the issue isn’t whether he signs the deal or not, the issue is the negotiations themselves."
First Published: Feb 20, 2009 08:57 IST