NATO says Pak must continue action in tribal areas

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Brussels, Dec.2 : North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) officials have said that Pakistan must continue its military operations against militants in its tribal regions despite rising tensions with India following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

"We hope Pakistan's efforts (against the insurgents) are not diminished as a result of what happened" in Mumbai, the Daily Times quoted NATO spokesman James Appathurai, as saying.

Appathurai made the comments even as NATO continues to express its concern over reports that the Pakistan Government might be thinking of redeployment of Pakistani troops in the east of the country, thus reducing Pakistani military action against militants located on that country's border with Afghanistan.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the alliance's 26 foreign ministers in Brussels, Appathurai was quoted by the Dawn as saying that the new Pakistani government had shown it was determined to fight insurgents in the northern part of the country.

"NATO believes that the success of Pakistan in increasing pressure on the militants over the last few months has been very valuable," he said.

Appathurai also reiterated that NATO soldiers were not deployed within Pakistan.

"The NATO mandate ends at the border. We are not participating in any ground or air operations in Pakistan," he said.

The alliance has deployed over 50,000 troops in Afghanistan and has said that stabilising the country is NATO's key priority.

ANI

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