'Troubled and confused' US in intense discussion with Pak army and ISI over Swat peace deal: Holbrooke

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Washington, Feb.20 (ANI): US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, has admitted that the Obama administration is 'troubled and confused' over implementation of Islamic law in the Swat Valley.

Holbrooke said such efforts of establishing peace in the region have fallen apart previously, thus raising questions over the recent deal between the Taliban and Pakistan Government.

"We're troubled and confused in a sense about what happened in Swat because it is not an encouraging trend. Previous ceasefires have broken down," The Nation quoted Holbrooke,as saying.

He said that Washington is alarmed by the situation, and it is discussing the intricate issue with the Pakistani army and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

"We are engaged in very intense discussions with the military leadership of Pakistan and the ISI about this particular issue," Holbrooke said.

Comparing the Swat militants with the 9/11 attackers, and Mumbai terrorists, he said : "The people who did 9/11 in the United States, the people who attacked Mumbai, and the people who seized Swat all come from the same roots and all are located in the same area."

Commenting on formulating fresh strategies for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Holbrooke said Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta will be visiting Washington to hold talks with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top officials formulating US policy for the region and discuss the Swat accord, next week.

He reiterated that the US, India, and Pakistan were facing the same challenge of terrorism

"This is the first time since the independence of Pakistan and India, over 60 years ago, that India, Pakistan, and the United States share a common threat from the terrorists," Holbrooke said.

He also emphasized the need of Islamabad concentrating more on the menace across its western border rather than to build troops along the Indian border.

"As everyone knows, the Pakistan army has been focused on India for decades. Most of us believe that they ought to reorient their attention much more to the west. But in order to do that, there has to be much more confidence between Pakistan and India," Holbrooke added.

He said that the Mumbai attacks were targeted to hamper peace talks between India and Pakistan, and was an attempt to destabilize the region, and commended the Indian leadership for refraining from taking any military action against the neighbouring country in retaliation.

"The attack in Mumbai was conducted by very shrewd, ruthless murderers. The terrorists who launched that attack were trying to upset the improving relations between Pakistan and India. The Indians did not play into their hands. They restrained themselves. But we have got to understand that to get the Pakistanis to focus on the west," Holbrooke said. (ANI)

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