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‘US Afghan troop surge has serious implications for Pak’

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 19:17

Islamabad: Pakistan today said the planned US troop surge in Afghanistan has "serious implications" for it as this could trigger more violence in the war-torn nation and result in further influx of militants here, even as it vowed not to accept "foreign boots" on its soil to fight extremists.

"As a result of the (US) military surge, there could be more violence in Afghanistan which could, in turn, result in further influx of militants and refugees from Afghanistan into Pakistan," Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs.

The new US strategy in Afghanistan has "serious implications" for Pakistan, he said, adding Washington and Islamabad "are engaged in consultations at different levels to
coordinate more effectively military operations and enhance border controls."

The growing nexus between terrorism and drug money is a "serious issue that needs to be dealt within Afghanistan urgently," Qureshi said.

The minister briefed the National Assembly`s committee about the new US policy and its "possible pros and cons for Pakistan and the region."

Qureshi covered a range of issues related to Afghanistan, including the planned US military surge, increased emphasis on effective governance, political reconciliation and importance of the Pakistan-US partnership in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Qureshi also informed the committee of Pakistan`s "red lines", underscoring that Islamabad will "neither accept foreign boots on its soil nor extension of drone attacks."

In this regard, he said Pakistan "strongly believed that drone attacks were counter-productive and unhelpful in our joint efforts towards winning hearts and minds which are
essential to succeed against violent extremism."
Pakistan, for the first time, was united against terrorism and militancy and is "resolved to take the ongoing fight to its logical end," he said.
The committee raised several points and questions and emphasised that Pakistan had "legitimate interests and the US and other key countries should take full cognisance of them."


First Published: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - 19:17
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