US available if Pakistan needs help: Gates

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Lahore, Jan.18 : U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said that Washington would "stand by and be available" if Pakistan needed help to combat terrorism.

"We're assessing what value we could have, or any other ally could have, in contributing to their security, but they're a sovereign nation. They have to make those decisions," he told a press conference.

"And, we will stand by and be available, particularly for those things that we might do in the way of training or in helping them in shortfalls that they have as they too, just like this last conversation, start to transition their force more to a force dealing with a counterinsurgency internal," the Daily Times further quoted him, as saying.

"We're trying to make sure we understand the ground truth before we take any action so that it is not be misperceived, but contributes to their stability," he said to a question.

"For Al Qaeda and some of the other insurgent groups along that border to turn against the Pakistani government and take on the Pakistani government, to be involved in the assassination of a prominent political leader, is a development that has just taken place in the last few months ... and this has always been an area that has not been fully under the control of the Pakistani government or where there has been a significant military presence," he said.

"I think that the Pakistani government, frankly, is dealing with the emergence of a threat inside Pakistan that it has not confronted until very recently. And it's not a surprise to me that they're having some challenges in trying to deal with that," he added.


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