Pakistan still a key ally of the US in the war on terror

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Washington, Apr 16 : The Bush Administration still believes that Pakistan is a key ally in the war against terrorism.

Three senior officials of the US Government - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen - pointed out the fact that Pakistan will have to play a key role in the US strategy for fighting terrorism.

"Supplying helicopter spare parts, night vision devices, and night flight training to enhance Pakistan's special forces' ability to help fight al Qaeda in the northwest territories," the Dawn quoted Gates, as saying while explaining how the administration intends to spend hundreds of millions of dollars it is seeking for the programme.

He further said that US assistance would go beyond the military to security services, as in some countries other security services are also involved in the war against terror.

"In Pakistan, the Frontier Corps is not a part of the military," he added.

Rice, who is seeking 248 million dollar to create a corps of 3,750 diplomats and other civilians to serve abroad under the new plan, included Pakistan, along with Afghanistan and Iraq, in high priority areas.

Admiral Mullen said that Pakistan would receive "the full spectrum" of "tactical communications, maritime security, and night vision kinds of flying opportunities."

Congressman Ike Skelton, the House Committee on Armed Services Chairman, has urged Washington to devote more resources to Pakistan's tribal areas.

"When we know that the most likely source of an attack upon our nation is coming from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, I have a hard time understanding why Iraq is priority one instead of Afghanistan being priority number one," he said.

Rice and Gates are seeking to increase funding authority for the Global Train and Equip programme from 300 million to 750 million dollars a year.

ANI

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