Pakistan`s war against extremism not as expected: Gates

US defence secretary said Pakistani co-operation was going up.

Last Updated: Nov 18, 2010, 12:23 PM IST

Washington: Pakistan is not making enough progress in war against terrorism, even though its commitment to defeat extremism has significantly increased in the last one year, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said.

"We don`t have combat boots on the ground in Pakistan. What we are seeing is Pakistani government, Pakistani Army taking action against some of these safe havens, disrupting them and increasingly coordinating with us in, not in cross-border, but on either-side-of-the-border operations against these groups," Gates said at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council 2010 Meeting.

"I think that the Pakistanis taking it on is clearly preferable."

When asked if Pakistan was doing as aggressively as the US would like them to, he responded in negative saying the US needs to be patient in this regard.

"We have said all along that they have gotten to where they need to be. We are pretty impatient people... we want everything done yesterday. But, they are doing things that we would have been sceptical they would do even a year, year and a half ago," he said.

Gates said that their highest priority was clearly going after the people that they think were trying to overthrow them, which is the Pakistani Taliban.

But they are increasingly, I think, moving and working with us against the other groups. I think it`s going up. Two years ago if you had told me that Pakistan would have 140,000 troops on its western border fighting Taliban and other terror groups, I would have thought that impossible, he said.

They have basically withdrawn six divisions from the Indian border to deal with this problem.

Gates said Pakistani co-operation was going up. "Is it as fast as we would like? No. But if you had told me two years ago that they would have occupied Swat and South Waziristan and be going after these people, be working with us and partnering with us as we coordinate on both sides of the border, I`d have thought that was a reach," he said.

"I think that the strategic dialogue we`ve had with the leaders of Pakistan when they`ve come here twice – and Secretary Clinton and our team has gone to Islamabad once this summer -- I think has really enhanced the quality of the relationship. And I think that there is a growing common understanding of the mutual threats that we face," he said.

PTI