Take speedy action against al-Qaeda, Taliban: Mullen to Pak

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Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Jan 13 (PTI) The US wants Pakistan to takespeedy action against al-Qaeda and Taliban elements holed upin North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border,American military chief Admiral Mike has said.

Noting that Pakistani security forces had conductednine major operations in the past two years in areas like Swatand South Waziristan Agency, US Joint Chiefs of Staff ChairmanMullen said the militants in North Waziristan continue to posethe "biggest threat".

Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is awareof the threat posed by militants in North Waziristan, Mullensaid. Kayani has pledged to launch an operation against themat a time chosen by Pakistan though the US wants action to betaken speedily, he said.

"Would we like to see it happen more quickly?Absolutely," Mullen said in an interview with Geo Newschannel. The US has stepped up pressure on Pakistan to movetroops into North Waziristan to crackdown on groups like theHaqqani network that target allied forces across the border inAfghanistan.

Analysts believe the Pakistan Army is reluctant to actbecause it has close links to the Haqqani network and wants touse such groups to influence developments in Afghanistan afterUS troops pull out.

Mullen made it clear that the US wants to end al-Qaedaand allied extremist groups, and it is necessary to destroythe Al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan and militant hideouts toachieve this objective.

"I believe it has to be all done in a way that it''ssustained over time," he said.

Pakistan''s reservations will be considered inresolving the Afghan imbroglio, Mullen said.

The US is also committed to long-term relations withboth Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said.

Gen Kayani and the US leadership both believe that astable Afghanistan could resolve many problems, he said.

Referring to Pakistan-India relations, Mullen saidbetter relations between the two South Asian countries wouldensure security in the region.

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