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Pakistan And The War On Terror


Pakistan's security forces say they have captured a Taleban commander in Balochistan province near the border with Afghanistan. "A Taleban commander and forty-two other Afghan nationals were arrested in [the] provincial capital Quetta," said police official Chaudhary Mohammad Yaqub. About eighty-thousand Pakistani troops have been deployed to the region to combat Taleban remnants and al-Qaida terrorists.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri says Pakistan fears what he calls the "Talibanization" of its society. Pakistan, says Mr. Kasuri, has "zero tolerance for terrorists," and has brought some seven-hundred al-Qaida terrorists to justice since September 2001.

Fighting against foreign-born extremists and their tribal sympathizers has cost the lives of some six-hundred Pakistani soldiers. "We cannot and will not lose this battle against terrorism," Mr. Kasuri said. At the same time, Pakistan is pursuing a policy that President Pervez Musharraf calls "enlightened moderation."

Foreign Minister Kasuri says this involves "weaning vulnerable people away from the appeal to extremism" by changing the curriculum in religious schools and providing economic opportunities. "We cannot wage this war against terrorism without support from the Pakistani people," said Mr. Kasuri. Close cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan is also essential in defeating terrorism, Mr. Kasuri said. Pakistan, he said, has "a vital stake in stability" in Afghanistan.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the U.S. wants to work more closely with Pakistan and Afghanistan to defeat a common enemy:

"What we are all trying to do is to commit as strongly as we can to the [anti-terror] activities, which make it ultimately impossible for al-Qaida and Taleban to operate on that border. We [the U.S.], Afghanistan, and Pakistan are going to unify all of our efforts as we have done over the last several years toward the goal of eliminating the threat from al-Qaida and the Taleban."

"This is a very difficult time for both Afghanistan and Pakistan," said Ms. Rice, but both countries are committed to "the goal of eliminating the threat from al-Qaida and the Taleban."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.

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