Obama reads the riot act to Pak to perform against terror safe havens

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Washington, Mar 27 (ANI): President Barack Obama's new Afghanistan and Pakistan policy will not only step up the military offensive against the Taliban and al-Qaida in both Afghanistan and the tribal areas of north Pakistan, but will also make Islamabad accountable for appropriate action taken against militants.

The Obama Administration intends to focus new efforts on Pakistan, principally involving regular diplomatic engagement led by special envoy Richard Holbrooke and conduct bi-lateral talks with Islamabad every six-to-eight weeks and US-Pak-Afghan meetings once every three months.

"That's a fundamental shift," one senior official said, describing the new strategy as one that defines the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban as a two-nation conflict that requires intensive military and diplomatic efforts.

"We recognize Pakistan has a complex, complicated relationship with some of these terrorists groups. Some of these terrorists groups have grown up within the Pakistani system, but many of them have now become Frankensteins which threaten the freedom of Pakistan," FOX News quoted the official, as saying.

The new strategy will also seek to increase US economic aid to Pakistan's new civilian government. Obama tomorrow will ask Congress to commit 1.5 billion dollars a year for each of the next five years to economic development aid to Pakistan.

The US President will also seek to "increase Pakistan's capabilities against insurgents, terrorists and militants." As an example, one official said, Obama will try to increase Pakistan's "air mobility capability to control their western border."

Even with these new initiatives, senior officials admitted they are still not completely comfortable that some elements of Pakistan's military or intelligence forces are not aligned with or sympathetic toward al Qaeda or the Taliban.

"All of this, of course, is going to have to be done in a way in which we are ensured that Pakistan will take the appropriate measures against militancy, terrorism, and insurgency," one official said.

"We've made that very clear in our conversations with the Pakistanis," the official added. (ANI)

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