US patience on Pak's indecision on N.Waziristan operation running out, warns Joe Biden

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Islamabad, Jan 13(ANI): Making it clear that the US patience is running out over Pakistan's indecision on military action against terrorist sanctuaries in North Waziristan, US Vice President Joe Biden has unequivocally told his interlocutors in Islamabad that the Americans would not wait indefinitely.

During his press conference alongside Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Biden sought to dispel a conception that the United States had drawn the country into war, saying that violent extremists were not a threat only to the US, but also to Pakistan and the entire civilised world. He stressed that Al Qaeda and the Taliban continued to pose a threat to the US and its interests from their safe havens in Pakistan's tribal areas.

"They (Al Qaeda) continue to plot attacks against the United States and our interests to this very day and they have, not with your help, but they have found refuge in the most remote portions of your country," the Dawn quoted Biden, as saying.

Attempting to make the Pakistanis wake up to the threat posed by extremists to the country and its people, he cautioned: "Societies that tolerate such actions wind up being consumed by those actions."

Biden had set the tone for the Islamabad trip by voicing concern in Kabul over Pakistan being too soft with the Taliban.

"It is going to require more pressure on the Taliban from Pakistani side of the border than we have been able to observe so far," the vice president had said in the Afghan capital.

In an apparent reference to the drone attacks and occasional intrusions by NATO jets seen by Pakistan as a violation of its sovereignty, Biden said that Washington was working with Islamabad to restore sovereignty violated by extremists.

"I would respectfully suggest that it is the extremists who violate Pakistan's sovereignty and corrupt its good name. The US is working to restore and strengthen sovereignty in areas where extremists violated it," he maintained.

Other 'misgivings' that he tried to dispel included the impression that the US disrespected Islam, its (US) policies favoured India and sought to weaken and dismantle Pakistan, and that Americans would abandon the region, leaving Pakistan behind to deal with the mess.

"We want what you want - a strong, stable, prosperous and democratic Pakistan at peace with itself and its neighbours, including India. We want that not just for your sake but we wish your success because it's in our own interest, it's in the interest of the entire region and I would argue the entire world," said Biden.

The US vice president stayed for about six hours in Pakistan's federal capital on Wednesday, during which he separately met President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani before concluding his visit by calling on Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani at the military headquarters, where, according to sources, most of the substantive discussions were held- about an operation in North Waziristan, reconciliation in Afghanistan and other issues pertaining to the coalition force's operations in Afghanistan.

North Waziristan has been a source of friction in relations between the two allies because of the US demand for a military offensive in the region along Pak-Afghan border, which Washington says is the launching pad for violence in Afghanistan.

But the Pakistani military leadership has been resisting the US pressure by insisting that it was constrained by operations against militants in other areas and efforts to consolidate the gains made in the fight against extremists. The army says it will move into North Waziristan at a time of its own choosing. (ANI)

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