Washington: The ongoing ‘war on terror’ in Afghanistan and related challenges in Pakistan top British foreign policy, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said.
Addressing the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Miliband said the prime rationale of the Afghan war, which was to dismantle al Qaeda’s safe havens in the region, has come under scrutiny with the extremists now being pushed into Pakistan’s tribal regions.
“The 1,600 mile Afghan border with Pakistan, the presence of al Qaeda’s senior leadership in Pakistan’s border areas, and the links between the two countries, means that their stability needs to be addressed together,” Miliband said.
While explaining the reasons behind Pakistan being a major factor in British’ plans for stabilising South Asia, he claimed that Afghan Taliban leadership was primarily based in Pakistan.
“The so-called Pakistan Taliban were a loose collection of insurgent leaders mainly in Waziristan, and were primarily focussed eastwards against the authority of the Pakistani state,” The Dawn quoted Miliband, as saying.
Miliband urged the Pakistani leadership to expand the country’s fight against al Qaeda and other banned extremist groups.
“Pakistan’s leaders will need to broaden its fight to address al Qaeda’s leadership and the full range of other militant groups, not just those who pose the most direct threat to Pakistan,” he said.