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Pakistan Confronts Terrorism

Pakistan Confronts Terrorism
Pakistan Confronts Terrorism

Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf said Pakistan and Afghanistan are threatened by “a small minority that preaches hate, violence and backwardness.”

Mr. Musharraf spoke to more than six-hundred Afghan and Pakistani delegates gathered in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, for a “Joint Peace Jirga,” or council. He said Taleban militants and other violent extremists are “impeding our progress and development and maligning Islam, our noble faith of peace, tolerance, and compassion.” Afghanistan and Pakistan, he said, must work together “to effectively defeat the forces of extremism and terrorism.”

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai told the Jirga, “Afghanistan has confidence in its neighboring country.” U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey says the United States stands with both countries against a common enemy:

“The perspective that we all have on this is that fighting terrorism both by the Taleban and al-Qaida is the responsibility of all countries. It certainly is the responsibility both of Pakistan and Afghanistan. President Karzai is dedicated to that fight. President Musharraf is as well.”

Pakistan continues to battle armed extremists. The rugged mountains of Pakistan’s North and South Waziristan provinces have been a hideout for al-Qaida terrorists and Taleban insurgents who cross the border into Afghanistan to launch attacks. U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns says Pakistan is on the front lines of the global war against terrorism:

“They have killed or captured more al Qaida [operatives] than anybody else – Pakistan has, over the last six years. They have arrested hundreds of terrorist suspects. They have turned over to the United States senior al-Qaida figures such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al Shibh, and Abu Zubaida. They have stationed now one-hundred thousand troops on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and a number of those troops, [more than] six-hundred, have lost their lives in battles against terrorist groups.”

“Al Qaida remains a potent force inside Pakistan, as is the Taleban,” said Under Secretary of State Burns. “Defeating these enemies is essential to our effort to defeat terrorism in South Asia and around the world.”