Pak, Afghanistan based terrorists pose potent threat to Persian Gulf countries : Gates

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Washington, June 25 (ANI): The US Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates has warned that the terror threat emanating from Pakistan and Afghanistan is dangerous for the Gulf countries as well.

Speaking at a conference of Defence Chiefs of 11 Gulf countries here, Gates warned that the middle-east countries cannot afford to neglect the threat posed by different extremist organizations breeding inside Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"The serious security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan also has important implications for the Middle-East," The Dawn quoted Gates, as saying.

"As we have seen from attacks and al-Qaeda planning and activities across the Middle East and Europe, the danger reaches far beyond the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan," he added.

Gates highlighted that the gulf countries should expand their co-operation with the United States, to jointly counter the common threats such as Iran's nuclear programme and terrorist networks operating in the region.

"The Gulf States need to work together and with the United States also to contain Iranian ambitions in their region," said Gates.

He criticized the Pakistan government for entering into a peace deal with the Taliban, which, according to him, provided an opportunity to the insurgents to regroup and challenge the democratic set-up of the country.

"To a considerable degree, the Taliban resurgence began when Pakistan made peace agreements with various insurgent and extremist groups on its western border.This allowed them more freedom of movement and an effective base of operations, but that approach by the Pakistani government has come to an end," said Gates.

Describing the Swat offensive as an 'encouraging first step' against the extremists, Gates stressed that Pakistan needed to do more to quell militancy from its soil. (ANI)

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