Terrorist groups trying to destabilise Pakistan: Gates

US defence secretary does not think Afghan war is destabilising to Pakistan.

Updated: Feb 17, 2011, 14:02 PM IST

Washington: The US has said the terrorist outfits based in the western part of Pakistan were trying to destabilise that country and not America`s presence in

"I don`t believe that the war in Afghanistan is destabilising to Pakistan. I think that what is destabilising to Pakistan, among other things, several terrorist
organisations in the northwestern part of Pakistan that are intent on destabilising Pakistan and overthrowing its government," US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said at a Congressional hearing.

Gates was responding to a question from Congressman John Garamendi.

"Does our war in Afghanistan destabilise Pakistan? And if so, what should we be doing about that problem in Pakistan?" he asked.

"I think our efforts combined with the Pakistani efforts on both sides of the border in fact help reduce that terrorist risk to the Pakistanis. I think that extreme economic problems are a huge factor in Pakistan," Gates said.

"So I don`t think our presence in Afghanistan is destabilising. In fact, I think it helps the Pakistanis long term," he argued.