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U.S. Commander Urges Pakistan To Act Against All Militants

Admiral Michael Mullen
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) -- The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff has urged Pakistan to investigate all possible links between the Mumbai attacks and Pakistani groups and to broaden its campaign against militants.

Admiral Mike Mullen flew in for talks with Pakistan's eight-month-old civilian government and military commanders earlier, as part of U.S. diplomatic efforts to defuse tension between Pakistan and India after the Mumbai attacks.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in New Delhi to consult the Indian government.

Mullen urged Pakistani officials to "investigate aggressively any and all possible ties to groups based in Pakistan", the U.S. Embassy said in a statement.

Mullen noted the recent success of Pakistani offensives against militants on the Afghan border and "also encouraged Pakistani leaders to take more, and more concerted, action against militant extremists elsewhere in the country."

Rice urged Pakistan to cooperate "fully and transparently" in the investigation. She is due in Islamabad on December 4, the prime minister's office said.

Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the attacks on Mumbai that killed 171 people, including Americans and other foreigners, were led from inside Pakistan, and said India would act decisively to protect its territorial integrity.

"I informed Dr. Rice there is no doubt that the terrorist attacks in Mumbai were perpetrated by individuals who came from Pakistan and whose controllers are in Pakistan," Mukherjee told a joint news conference with Rice.

Pakistan has condemned the assault, denied any involvement by state agencies, and vowed to work with India in the investigation.

Nevertheless, the attack has sparked fears that the nuclear-armed neighbors could slide towards a fourth war since independence from Britain in 1947 unless cool heads prevail.

A confrontation would undermine U.S.-led efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan and defeat Al-Qaeda.