US won't negotiate with Pak-Taliban: Gates

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Washington, Dec. 7 (ANI): US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said that President Obama is sending extra troops to Afghanistan in order to bring the Taliban to the negotiation table, but clarified that America won't negotiate with Taliban leaders in Pakistan, as "it's up to the Pakistani military to deal with this problem."

"I think that the likelihood of the leadership of the Taliban, or senior leaders, being willing to accept the conditions depends in the first instance on reversing their momentum right now, and putting them in a position where they suddenly begin to realise that they're likely to lose," The Daily Times quoted Gates, as saying.

But Gates added that the US would not pursue the Pak-Taliban, as it was up to Islamabad to address the threat posed by the terrorists to its territory.

"Pakistan is a sovereign government. We are in a partnership with them. I think at this point it's up to the Pakistani military to deal with this problem," Gates said.

His comments come amid reports claiming that the White House had granted authority to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to expand a bombing campaign in Pakistan by unmanned aircraft to strike the Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives.

He added that the US had confidence that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal was secure despite the threat posed by the insurgents.

"We're comfortable (with the security of the country's atomic weapons)," Gates said.

Gates said Washington did not know where Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was and had lacked reliable information on his whereabouts for years.

Referring to the last time US intelligence had a fix on Bin Laden's whereabouts, Gates said, "I think it's been years." (ANI)

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