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Pakistan has made strategic shift on war against terror: US

Lalit K Jha/ PTI  |  Washington 

Notwithstanding the concerns, the US has about the continued links that some elements of ISI has with terrorist outfits like the Al Qaeda and Taliban, the Obama Administration has said that Islamabad in the last one year has made strategic shift in the war against terrorism.

"Pakistan has, in our view, made a strategic shift in the last year or more. It has taken aggressive action at considerable expense to Pakistan," State Department spokesman P J Crowley, told reporters at his daily conference.

"The Pakistani people are suffering as much if not more than any other people in the world from terrorism. But there is clearly more to be done," he said.

"Our joint concern here is to eliminate the safe havens that exist in the region and to prevent the emergence of new safe havens from which there can be the export of terrorism that can threaten US, Europe, or other parts of the world," Crowley said.

When asked about the comment made by British Prime Minister David Cameroon, that his country would not tolerate export of terrorism by Pakistan, the State Department spokesman said US does not want to see the export of terror by any country.

"We are concerned about and have said many times that extremist element within the borders of Pakistan, in the tribal areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan, first and foremost, it represents a threat to Pakistan, it represents a threat to Afghanistan," Crowley said.

"As we have seen, extremists with links to these areas have made their way to Europe, have made their way to the United States.

This is an important component of our relationship and our strategic dialogue with Pakistan, and we are both satisfied with the aggressive steps that Pakistan has taken in recent months at considerable expense to Pakistan," he said.

"As we've made clear, we want to see Pakistan stay on the offensive in combating these extremist elements.

I know Pakistani officials in recent days have publicly stated their commitment to continue to do that," Crowley said.

The spokesman said there is a vast difference between the previous Musharraf regime and the current civilian government.

"Oh, is there a difference between a military-led governments and is there a difference between a civilian-led government with the kind of legitimacy that General Musharraf lacked?  Of course there is.

This is a new government, and even the decision to extend the term of General Kayani was the Pakistani civilian government's decision to make," he said.

"There is a vast difference in this current government. It enjoys more support from its people. And we are trying to help Pakistan build even more trust and support within its population.

Some of its institutions are fragile," he said.

"It is expressly why the supplemental is important to us that was passed by the House yesterday, to provide the resources so that we can continue to assist Pakistan, build up its institutions of government, have the government be able to deliver stronger services, more reliable services to its people.

Through that public support, that's how you narrow the space that extremists currently have to function," Crowley said.

First Published: Thu, July 29 2010. 09:14 IST