Afghan officials' desperate plea to US to force Pak 'to get rid of terror havens' on its soil

Kabul, Oct 28 (ANI): Senior Afghan officials have pressed the United States at a closed-door strategy session in Kabul to force Pakistan to crack down on insurgents within its territory, saying that recent military gains will be short-lived as long as those terrorist havens prevail across the border.

"If we do not get rid of them, we're just wasting time, lives and money," the Wall Street Journal quoted Afghan National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta, as saying during the conference. His aide confirmed the comments.

The Kabul meeting, known as the Rehearsal of Concept Drill, was aimed at coordinating the war efforts for the coming year, the paper said. The meeting was convened at a time coalition and Afghan troops advanced in the Taliban heartland of Kandahar province, it added.

The US-led military coalition told the conference that the insurgency in Afghanistan "has lost its momentum" because of recent allied operations, but remains "resilient," according to some participants.

US officials agreed with their Afghan counterparts that the insurgents' ability to regroup in Pakistan, especially the tribal area of North Waziristan, poses a serious challenge to the war effort.

Although the Obama administration has been pressing Islamabad to act there, even indicating that some funding could be in jeopardy if it doesn't move against the insurgents. But at the Kabul session, US Special Representative Richard Holbrooke pushed back Spanta's suggestion for the US to threaten Pakistan with a cutoff in billions of dollars of American aid, the paper said.

According to a US official present at the session, Holbrooke said the Pakistan government was focused on dealing with the aftermath of devastating floods there, and that the US expected Islamabad would soon switch its focus back to insurgency.

"Pakistan needs to be part of the solution, not part of the problem," the US envoy said, adding, "We will not achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan until Pakistan plays a positive and contributive role here."

Holbrooke also raised the idea of a trilateral summit among US President Obama, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and their Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari early next year.

Threats emanating from Pakistan were also highlighted by Obama's Special Assistant for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, who reminded the conference's participants about the connections of Pakistani Taliban to the failed Times Square bombing in New York City in May, and to an earlier plot to attack New York's subway.

"We in America have a different sense of urgency. We are living on borrowed time until another tragedy," said Lute, according to one participant.

However, the White House and a US spokesman for the coalition would neither confirm nor deny the comments attributed to Lute and other speakers. "This was a closed, not-for-attribution conference," said Navy Rear Adm. Gregory J. Smith, the coalition's Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. (ANI)

Please Wait while comments are loading...