Kashmir dispute no breeding ground for terrorism: Gates

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Islamabad, Jan.23 (ANI): US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has rubbished Pakistan's long standing stance that the unresolved issues like the Kashmir dispute were breeding terrorism and providing food for thought for banned extremist organisations like Al-Qaeda.

Interacting with reporters at the residence of US Ambassador, Anne Patterson, here, Gates said groups like Al-Qaeda are hardly concerned over the long pending Kashmir issue.

"Al Qaeda doesn't care about Kashmir, what it cares is creating problems and provoking conflict," Gates said.

Gates's latest remarks are in addition to his statements, which he gave in New Delhi earlier this week, that Al-Qaeda through its off-shoots such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other similar organizations, was trying to destabilize the region by igniting a war between India and Pakistan.

He also blasted people, who divided the terror groups in two groups, saying bifurcating these banned extremist organizations into 'good and 'bad' was a 'mistaken approach'.

Responding to queries over the Pakistan Army's decision to not to launch any new offensive against extremists in the next six to twelve months, Gates said:

"Pakistan is a sovereign country and it would make its own decision about what is the best timing for their military operation, when they are going to do it, or whether they are going to do it at all."

He also clarified that the US Defence Deparment had nothing to do with the controversial private security firm Blackwater's presence in Pakistan.

"We have no connection with Blackwater in Pakistan.Department of Defence does not use Blackwater in Pakistan. Well, they're (Blackwater) operating as individual companies here in Pakistan, in Afghanistan and in Iraq," Gates said.

It is pertinent to mention here that a couple of days ago Gates had admitted the presence of Blackwater and DynCorp in Pakistan. (ANI)

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