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Pakistan must eliminate terror groups: UK

Last Updated: Friday, December 2, 2011 - 21:13

New Delhi: Ahead of the Afghan conference in Bonn, Britain on Friday asked Pakistan to pressure and eliminate militant groups like hardline Haqqani network which has been behind attacks on Indian interests in Kabul.

"We would like Pakistan to do their utmost to put pressure on the Haqqanis either to reconcile or to eliminate the threat they pose (to stability in Afghanistan)," Mark
Sedwill, Britain`s special envoy on AfPak told reporters here.

He regretted Pakistan was not attending the Bonn Conference to plan international commitment to Afghanistan beyond 2014 when NATO-led international forces are expected to leave the war-torn country.

Pakistan has decided to stay away from the conference in protest against the NATO strikes in its territory in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed.

However, Sedwill said Pakistan`s absence will not affect the larger objectives of the Bonn conference which has a broader agenda of global commitment to Afghanistan beyond 2014 and the support to Afghan national security forces.

"It is obviously regrettable that Pakistan is not going to Bonn. But we should not overestimate it. The larger objectives of the Bonn conference are secure," Sedwill said.

The conference will also discuss support to Afghan`s fiscal and economic sustainability.

Sedwill held discussions with Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, India`s special envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan Satinder K Lambah and Deputy National Security Advisor Latha Reddy.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna is attending the Bonn Conference on Monday.

Sedwill said the previous governments in Pakistan had supported terror but now they were suffering heavily at the hands of home-grown terror networks.

Interestingly, the British Af-Pak envoy said that during his discussions with Pakistani leadership in Islamabad did cover India`s development support to Afghanistan.

Sedwill said he got the impression that Islamabad was comfortable with India`s developmental partnership but was wary about its military role in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan`s leadership, military and civil, has said exactly that...They recognise that India`s development support (to Afghanistan) is a must," he said.

"They do have some anxieties on India military training to Afghan Army, just as India would have anxieties about Pakistan," he said.

Appreciating India`s role in the development of Afghanistan, he said "we strongly welcome India`s strategic partnership pact with Afghanistan".

Sedwill said Britain was also in the process of entering into a strategic partnership with Afghanistan.


First Published: Friday, December 2, 2011 - 21:13

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