Cheney in Pakistan on terror talks

Dick Cheney, the US vice president, has made a surprise visit to Pakistan for talks with Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, on means of combating a new Taliban offensive in Afghanistan and a resurgent al Qaeda.

Cheney in Pakistan on terror talks
Cheney arrived on Monday and went straight to Musharraf's office in Rawalpindi, just south of the capital Islamabad.
 
An official traveling with Cheney and state-run Pakistan Television reported that the meeting was underway.
 
The US is bolstering its troop presence in Afghanistan to help repel a 'spring offensive' anticipated by the US and Nato after the bloodiest year there since the Taliban was ousted in 2001.
 

The New York Times reported on Monday that George Bush, the US president, had decided to send an unusually tough message to Musharraf, warning him that the newly-elected Democratic US Congress could cut aid unless his forces were far more aggressive in hunting down operatives with al Qaeda.

   

Taliban forces and elements of al Qaeda, blamed for the September 11 attacks on the United States, are suspected of operating from the remote mountainous border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

 

Frustration

   

The United States has about 27,000 troops in Afghanistan, of which about 15,000 are in the NATO force and the rest on missions ranging from counter-terrorism to training.

        

Although Bush publicly praises Musharraf's support on counter-terrorism, US officials have voiced frustration over Taliban sanctuaries on the Pakistani side of the porous border with Afghanistan.

 

Experts say the Taliban has a virtual mini-state in northern Pakistan, using a recent peace deal with Islamabad to expand suicide-bomber training and fortifying its alliance with al Qaeda.

   

Bush has been criticised for pursuing war in Iraq at the expense of Afghanistan, a charge the administration denies.

   

His new push in Afghanistan has solid support in Congress, unlike his plan to send another 21,500 US troops to Iraq, which has drawn ferocious opposition from Democrats.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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