Pak seeks US assurance against any fallout of Afghan surge

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Islamabad, Dec.3 (ANI): While cautiously welcoming President Obama's decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, Pakistan has asked the US to ensure that there would not be any fallout for it following the massive surge.

A Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson said Washington has taken Islamabad on board regarding the new Afghan policy, but underlined the need for the US to 'clarify' and 'coordinate' before the actual implementation process starts.

"Pakistan looks forward to engaging closely with the US in understanding the full import of the new strategy and to ensure that there would be no fallout for Pakistan," The News quoted the spokesperson, as saying.

"Pakistan and the US need to closely coordinate their efforts to achieve shared objectives. There is certainly the need for clarity and coordination on all aspects of the implementation of the strategy," he added.

The Pakistani government has already expressed concerns regarding the surge fearing that it might result in a spill over of insurgents in the border areas along the Afghan border.

Officials said the US must take Islamabad's apprehensions into consideration while deploying troops in Afghanistan, and added that focus should be on preventing the militants from sneaking into Pakistan.

"Pakistan would also like the troops inside Afghanistan to be re-enforced at the Pak-Afghan borders so that there is little or no likelihood of infiltration," the spokesperson added.

According to reports, out of the 30,000 additional American troops to be deployed in Afghanistan in the summer of 2010, most will be sent to the southern part of that country, as it is perceived to be the stronghold of the Taliban.

Two combat brigades, one from the Marines and one from the Army, will go to the south, while another Army brigade will be sent to eastern Afghanistan, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity, officials said.

Army combat brigades usually comprise about 5,000 soldiers.

The flow of forces will begin "in earnest" next month, the official said, and a majority of troops will be deployed by next summer.

Speaking to reporters at his headquarters in Kabul on Wednesday, the American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, said the new American deployment, along with expected NATO reinforcements, was "sufficient."

"I think that we're going to have exactly what we need to move forward," said the general, who had earlier sought a fourth brigade. (ANI)

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