US warns Pak not to undercut fight against Taliban, Al Qaeda

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Washington, Nov.16 (ANI): The Obama administration has warned Pakistan not to undercut the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and to expand and reorient its fight against both.

Officials have said that the new strategy to be announced this week, will see Pakistan returning to the center stage in administration planning.

National Security Adviser, Lt. Gen. James L. Jones, is in Islamabad to reiterate the Obama administration's latest message.

According to a New York Times report, the new American strategy would work only if Pakistan broadened its fight beyond the militants attacking its cities and security forces and went after the groups that use havens in Pakistan for plotting and carrying out attacks against American troops in Afghanistan, as well as support networks for Al Qaeda.

Pakistani officials have told the Americans that they harbor two deep fears about Obama's new strategy: that the United States will add too many troops on the Afghan side of the border, and that the American effort will end too soon.

Their first concern, described by officials on both sides of the recent discussions, is that if Obama commits an additional 30,000 or more troops, it will inevitably push more Taliban fighters across the border into Pakistani territory and complicate the South Waziristan offensive.

The powerful Pakistani military and intelligence establishment also believes the United States commitment to the war on terror is fleeting.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared to fuel this concern on Sunday in her comments on the ABC program "This Week," saying: "We're not interested in staying in Afghanistan. We have no long-term stake there. We want that to be made very clear."

White House officials have said comparatively little about the Pakistan side of the administration's evolving war strategy, in part because they have so few options.

They cannot place forces inside Pakistan, and they cannot talk publicly about the Central Intelligence Agency's Predator drone strikes in the country, though they are so much of an open secret that Mrs. Clinton was asked about them repeatedly in meetings she held late last month with Pakistani students and citizens. She refused to acknowledge the program's existence.

President Obama has offered a range of new incentives to the Pakistanis for their cooperation, including enhanced intelligence sharing and military cooperation. (ANI)

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