US opts for 'wait and watch' policy over Swat sharia deal

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Washington, Feb.19 (ANI): While the world may have shown its concerns over the implementation of Islamic law in the Swat Valley, the United States, seems to have applied a policy of 'wait and watch' over the issue.

The US has said that it will wait for the result of the 'peace-deal' between the Taliban and Pakistani authorities before commenting on it.

"We're in discussions or we're in contact with the government of Pakistan, and we'll see what the results of their policy will be," The Dawn quoted US State Department's deputy spokesperson, Gordon Duguid, as saying.

"We're watching the situation," Duguid said.

After Washington's reaction, NATO, which is heading the 'War on Terror' across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, also expressed its concerns.

"We should all be concerned by a situation in which extremists would have a safe haven," NATO spokesperson, James Appathurai said.

Appathurai said that the region is already facing a grim situation with an upsurge in militancy, and the so called 'peace deal' could deteriorate the situation further.

"We not want to doubt the good faith of the Pakistani government, but it's clear that the region was suffering very badly from extremists and we would not want it to get worse," he said.

Diplomatic experts said that the precautious stand by the US indicates that Pakistan had kept the Obama administration in the loop, and for them the deal was not unexpected.

The observers pointed out that the US's special envoy for Afghnistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, was in Islamabad days before the accord was inked, so it is unlikely that Islamabad would not have consulted him before announcing the accord.

However, the present US stand is not much different from its reaction when a similar deal was struck between the government and militants in North Waziristan in September 2006.

The Bush administration, on that occasion, had maintained that it would wait to see if it (the peace-deal) actually led to peace in the region. (ANI)

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