Pak’s internal challenges have become “regional challenges”: Mike Mullen

Mike Mullen said Pakistan’s tribal region is the epicentre of terror for the world.

Updated: Mar 11, 2011, 21:31 PM IST

Phoenix: Pakistan’s tribal region is the epicentre of terror for the world, and the country’s internal challenges have become “regional challenges”, US Joint Chiefs of the Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen has said.

In a session with students, war veterans and members of the community at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Admiral Mullen also said that militant organisations, the Quetta Shura and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, pose potential terror threats.

“Recent suicide bombings in Pakistan, the killings of former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and Minorities Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti were all “matters of significant concern for the United States of America,” The Baloch Hal quoted Admiral Mullen, as saying in response to a question.

“Our relationship with the Pakistani military, which was cut from 1990 to 2000, has improved dramatically over the last several years,” he said.

“We are trying to fill that huge hole crated in the relationship between the two countries. We are building the trust we lost with Pakistan in 1990s.Its a critical part of the world. We are focused on various entities,” he added.

Talking about terrorist organisations, Admiral Mullen said: “Whether it is TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakista), LeT (Lashkar-e-Toiba, Afghan Taliban or the Quetta Shura, we are focused to get all those. An impatience (strategy) can’t get all this done very quickly.”

Pakistan is a “sovereign state”, whose leadership and people have to decide how to move forward in the war against terror, said the Joint Chiefs of the Staff Chairman.

“You know your country better and you should figure out about dealing with these challenges,” Admiral Mullen said in his reply to a question about the possible expansion of drone strikes in Quetta.

“I have been to Pakistan for about twenty years. I don’t underestimate the challenge,” he admitted.