Progress in campaign against terror in Pak critical: Mullen

A progress in campaign against terror in Pakistan was critical for stability in the region, a top US military commander has said, emphasising that terror havens in the country had to be wiped out.

Last Updated: Jan 13, 2011, 16:05 PM IST

Washington: A progress in campaign
against terror in Pakistan was critical for stability in the region, a top US military commander has said, emphasising that
terror havens in the country had to be wiped out.

Terming Pakistan as the "epicentre" for global
terrorism, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint
Chiefs of Staff said that global focus had to be on means and
ways to eliminate terror camps in that country.

Foreseeing a spurt in bloodshed in Afghanistan in
2011, Mullen, who recently returned from a tour of Pakistan,
said that the terror threat cannot be defeated without wiping
out militant camps in the country`s tribal belt.

"I`ve said it before and I`ll say it again: It is
the epicentre of terrorism in the world right now, and it
deserves the attention of everybody to do as much as we can to
eliminate that threat," Mullen said at a new briefing for
foreign journalists.

Echoing his thrust, a top White House official Mike
Hammer said US saw Pakistan as part of the "eventual solution"
to global terrorism.

Both the American officials said progress in Pakistan
was critical in terms of the region and pointed out that
Washington was engaged with Islamabad to work out means and
efforts needed to eliminate terrorists and extremists threat
that originates from that area of the world.

On Afghanistan, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff
said, "As difficult as it may be to accept, we must prepare
ourselves for more violence and more casualties in coming
months."

"The violence will be worse in 2011 than it was in
2010 in many parts of Afghanistan," Mullen said as US and NATO
forces step up their offensive against Taliban.

While acknowledging that NATO forces had made
impressive gains against Taliban in Afghanistan, the top US
commander said these gains were still "tenuous and fragile".

Mullen emphasised it was important for Pakistan
to shut down all those safe heavens in its boundary.
"It is absolutely critical that the safe havens in
Pakistan get shut down. We cannot succeed in Afghanistan
without that," he said.

"I`ve had many meetings with (Pak Army) General
(Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani on this subject, and he has evolved his
military against this threat, and this threat is evolving as
well, because it`s not just Haqqani anymore, al-Qaeda or TTP,
the Afghan Taliban or LeT."

It was all of them working together in ways that two
years ago they absolutely did not, Mullen said in response to
a question.
".....And when I talk about the region, it isn`t just
Afghanistan and Pakistan. We had a question earlier about
Iran. I will talk about this with my Russian counterpart --
you know, the neighbours in the area, to include India.

"I think we all have responsibility and we all want to
see this resolved as rapidly as possible," the official added.

PTI