Pakistan can deal with local, Afghan militants: US

WASHINGTON: The United States believes that Pakistan has the capability of dealing with the militants operating within its border and also with those who may come from Afghanistan.

At a briefing at the US State Department, spokesman Ian Kelly, however, acknowledged that the fight against the militants could not be won by military means alone.

The United States, he said, was willing to provide Pakistan with the resources Islamabad needed to wean away the affected populations from the militants.

That’s why, he said, the United States was providing economic assistance to Pakistan and was also helping reconstruction projects in the NWFP.

Asked if the United States believed Pakistan had the capability to deal with the militants inside its borders and with those coming from Afghanistan, spokesman Kelly said: ‘I think we do. I think that we certainly have more confidence now than we did even a few months ago, before they did take some decisive action to deal with this problem within their own borders.’

But more importantly, the United States saw this as a partnership with Pakistan aimed at dealing with shared challenges and problems, the official said.

The United States believed that it’s in its national interest to continue this partnership with Pakistan, the spokesman added.

Spokesman Kelly also said that the Obama Administration had raised the issue of existing terrorist training camps inside Pakistan with the leadership of the country.

India had also been briefed on this issue, he added. ‘We have, of course, raised our concerns, and we have briefed the Pakistani authorities about some of the information that we have gained from some of these suspects that have now been indicted,’ he said, but did not divulge specific details.

The spokesman was asked if the United States had shared with Pakistan the information it received from some suspects arrested recently in Chicago. The suspects claimed that they had trained in terrorist camps inside Pakistan.

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