Pak leadership slowly waking up to Taliban threat: US expert

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Washington, Apr.27 (ANI): The Taliban's agreement to pull out of Buner district in the North West Frontier Province following Pakistan's deployment of paramilitary troops to the area demonstrates the Pakistan military has sent the right signal to the Taliban, feels an American expert on South Asian affairs.

According to Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow for South Asia at The Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center, the situation in Pakistan remains highly precarious and, she warns that unless the civilian and military leadership develop a comprehensive and pro-active plan to counter the growing extremist threat, the Taliban almost certainly will again try to encroach on other areas of the NWFP.

"It will be up to the Pakistani military to decide how much of the country will be ceded to the Taliban. Pakistani civilian leaders have been too slow to awaken to the threat before them and too willing to sacrifice their constituents to the brutal policies of the Taliban. The combination of fatigue from the series of terror attacks in Pakistan over the last two years and high levels of anti-American sentiment have been obstacles to Pakistani leaders adopting firmer polices against extremism," Curtis says in her article.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's blunt warnings on Wednesday that Pakistan's abdication to the Taliban was putting the rest of the world at risk indicates she understands the gravity of the threat.

The real question that Secretary Clinton's warnings hint at is "what kind of a state will Pakistan become?" Will it contribute to development and stability in the region and remain globally engaged or will it need to be contained by the international community? The choice is Pakistan's to make, Curtis concludes. (ANI)

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