WASHINGTON: United States Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has said that Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has ensured to take action against terrorists present in North Waziristan Agency. Mike Mullen said that the NWA is the hub of terrorists, adding that Al-Qaeda is still present in North Waziristan Agency.
In an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff” Mike Mullen said that General Kayani clearly knows our priorities. He said that the goal was to defeat al-Qaeda and ensure Afghanistan would not again become a haven for the group as it had been before the U.S. ousted the Taliban from power after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
He said that al-Qaeda Chief Osama bin Laden was still leading al-Qaeda, adding that Pakistani nationals have rendered great sacrifices in war against terrorism. He said that General Kayani knows well that the terrorists are great threat for Pakistan, adding that Chairman Joint Chief’s of Staff Committee Khalid Shamim Wayyn and Army Chief General Kayani ensured to take action against terrorists in NWA.
He said that Pakistani leadership failed to tackle the situation arising after the Swat military operation. Mike Mullen conceded that trust deficit persists in relations with Pakistan because US had left Pakistan in a position from where restoration of trust is very difficult. Replying a question Mullen said that he has read the book of Bob Woodward so he is not in a position to comment on it.
He said that General Kayani has shifted more than 70,000 troops from the country’s border with India, its traditional rival, to the northwest, mobilizing 140,000 troops.
“They’ve sacrificed, they’ve lost a lot of citizens and they are really concerned, urgently concerned, about the threat to their own country from terrorists,” Mullen said. “Two years ago, that wasn’t the case.”
Still, Mullen did not give a timeframe for a possible operation in North Waziristan. He said Kayani has primarily targeted groups that pose an internal threat, not those the U.S. considers most dangerous.
The war in Afghanistan is showing signs of progress in reversing Taliban gains and strengthening legitimate authorities, Mullen said. The U.S. is “very committed” to beginning a troop withdrawal that Obama called for when he authorized 30,000 additional U.S. forces last December, Mullen said.-SANA