Pakistan ready to act against terror safe havens in country: Leon Panetta
Pakistan has signaled its readiness to deal with terrorists operating within its borders as well as with those who cross over to Afghanistan, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said.
The statement followed a clarification by officials of the Defense and State Departments of a Pentagon report that tended to create an impression that Pakistan was still allowing terrorist safe havens in Fata to operate.
The officials said the report was old and since then Pakistan had carried out several "complementary operations" with Afghan and NATO forces against the terrorists, reports The Dawn.
"We are more encouraged with the fact that they want to take steps to try to limit the terrorist threat within their own country and obviously the threat that goes across the border to Afghanistan," Panetta said.
He said Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had "indicated a willingness to try to put more pressure on safe havens".
While "actions have to speak louder than words, I do believe they're in a better place because they understand the kind of threats they should deal with," Panetta added.
A Pentagon report had alleged that terrorist safe havens in FATA were preventing US and allied forces from dealing a "decisive defeat" to militants inside Afghanistan.
The Pakistan Embassy in Washington drew the Pentagon's attention to the report, pointing out that it did not reflect the improvements that have occurred since July this year.
Panetta also acknowledged that Pakistan was helping Afghanistan in talking to the Taliban for seeking a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict.
But reconciliation with the Taliban, he said, was not easy because of the number of factions involved in the conflict.
"We have to at least make the effort to develop some kind of political solution as well as the military effort we are engaged in," he added.