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U.S. Intelligence Chief Says Pakistan Must Address 'Sanctuary' For Taliban

John Negroponte (file photo) (AFP) January 18, 2007 -- The head of U.S. intelligence operations says Pakistan must do more to address the "sanctuary" that Taliban fighters enjoy in Pakistan before security can improve in Afghanistan.

National Intelligence Director John Negroponte, who is expected to leave his post to take up a deputy secretary's post at the State Department, told a U.S. congressional panel today the United States is working with Pakistan
on this security problem.

Afghan and U.S. officials say Taliban fighters have been resurgent in Afghanistan's south and the east, along the Pakistan border. The fighters, they say, are hiding in Pakistan's border regions.

Pakistan, a key ally of the United States in its campaign against terrorism, says it does all it can to curb militancy.

Negroponte said Pakistan over the past several years have put a lot of Al-Qaeda and foreign fighters out of commission. He expressed confidence about Pakistan's commitment to the war on terror.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently praised Pakistan's assistance in countering terrorism but said a surge in cross-border insurgent activity from Pakistan was a "problem" that would have to be pursued with the Pakistani government.


Afghanistan And Pakistan

Afghanistan And Pakistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (left) with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad in October 2005 (epa)

ACROSS A DIFFICULT BORDER. The contested border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is some 2,500 kilometers long and runs through some of the most rugged, inhospitable territory on Earth. Controlling that border and preventing Taliban militants from using Pakistan as a staging ground for attacks in Afghanistan is an essential part of the U.S.-led international coalition's strategy for stabilizing Afghanistan. Officials in Kabul have been pointing their fingers at Pakistan for some time, accusing Islamabad or intelligence services of turning a blind eye to cross-border terrorism targeting the Afghan central government. Many observers remain convinced that much of the former Taliban regime's leadership -- along with leaders of Al-Qaeda -- are operating in the lawless Afghan-Pakistani border region.... (more)


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