Pak sees need for crackdown in tribal belt: Petraeus

The top US commander in Afghanistan said Tuesday that Pakistan recognised the need to take more action against insurgents in tribal regions from which they can attack NATO forces over the border.

Updated: Nov 23, 2010, 20:49 PM IST

Paris: The top US commander in
Afghanistan said Tuesday that Pakistan recognised the need to
take more action against insurgents in tribal regions from
which they can attack NATO forces over the border.

"They recognise the need for more operations in North
Waziristan," General David Petraeus said at a university
lecture in Paris in which he gave an update on the NATO
alliance`s campaign to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Washington considers Pakistan`s tribal belt, which
borders Afghanistan, an Al-Qaeda headquarters and the most
dangerous place on earth, but Pakistan has resisted US demands
for a ground offensive against insurgents there.

Petraeus said Pakistani security forces had "conducted
very impressive counter-insurgency operations" but more needed
to be done in the tribal belt, where US drones launch deadly
attacks on suspected insurgent bases.

Washington has dramatically escalated its drone
campaign against militants in areas near the Afghan border
over the past two months, and argues they are highly effective
in the war against Al-Qaeda and its Islamist allies.

But the US strikes are deeply unpopular among the
Pakistani public, who see military action on Pakistani soil as
a breach of national sovereignty and say some attacks have killed innocent civilians.

Petraeus had travelled to Paris from Lisbon, where
NATO leaders at the weekend endorsed a plan to start handing
Afghan forces command of the war next year, with the aim of
ceding full control by 2014.
The United States and NATO have around 140,000 troops
in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban-led insurgency in a war
now in its 10th year.

Those forces have trained more than 136,000 Afghan
army soldiers and 119,600 police as part of the NATO training
mission, with a goal of 171,600 soldiers and 134,000 police by
November next year.

PTI