US lacks plan to eliminate terrorism in Pak

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Washington, Apr 19: A new US government audit report has found fault with American counter terrorism planning in Pakistan, saying that Washington lacks a grand strategy to eliminate terrorist threat in Pakistan's tribal region along the Afghanistan border.

The General Accountability Office (GAO), in its report, says the United States has failed to draw up a comprehensive plan to eliminate terrorist threat in Pakistan's tribal areas. The Bush Administration laid out a plan for a national counter terrorism strategy in 2003, and the Congress passed legislation to implement it last year.

The report says that about six billion dollars of the 10.5 billion dollars the US has given Pakistan since 2002 is reimbursement for Pakistani military operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack, however, admitted that the FATA in Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan, was not an area of Pakistan that's fully under control of the country's government.

''It hasn't been, I don't think, in the history of Pakistan,'' he said.

McCormack said, ''It's still a source of deep concern for the United States government as a place where violent extremists are, to some extent, able to operate. And we have a program of cooperation with the Pakistani government to try to address the fact that this is an ungoverned area of Pakistan.'' He said Pakistanis had made some progress in the areas but it was still a source of concern not only for the US but also for the Afghanistan government.

''We've talked a lot about the fact that this is an area right along the border with Afghanistan that is a source of cross-border transit from Pakistan into Afghanistan , where those people can launch attacks in Afghanistan. So it' s a source of concern.

Progress has been made; a lot to do, a lot to do,'' the Department spokesman said.


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