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Deal between Pak and pro-Taliban will help both countries: US
September 07, 2006 11:07 IST
"Afghanistan and Pakistan have a shared interest in seeing that the border area is not a safe haven for Al Qaeda or terrorists. Afghanistan and Pakistan are both threatened by Al Qaeda," State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said in a briefing.
He said the US would keep an eye on how the deal is being implemented.
"We'll see how this agreement plays out. I know that this is something that is very important to President Musharraf in trying to get a handle on the situation... So we will see how the agreement is implemented," he added.
Hoping that the pact would help Pakistan in tackling problems in the border areas he said, "I know that this is something that is very important to President Musharraf in trying to get a handle on that situation."
On the details of the agreement McCormack said "...the agreement is that the people of North Waziristan, of that area, will no longer allow Waziristan to serve as a launching point for attacks; that it will not be a safe haven for Al Qaeda. And in return, the Pakistan military will go into cantonment areas."
"They will -- you can talk to the Pakistanis about exactly where they will withdraw to. But those forces will still be available to take action if necessary. And there are also a number of political and economic aspects to this agreement," he added.
"So the bottom line is, we'll see how it is implemented and we'll see what the outcome of the implementation is" McCormack said adding that the government in Islamabad has said very clearly that they will continue to hunt senior Al Qaeda leaders and they will not allow that area to serve as a safe haven for Al Qaeda or terrorists.
"The Pakistani government has an interest in this agreement working. And so we have every expectation that they will work to implement it in good faith and that we all share the same objective," he said.
McCormack was asked if the Bush administration was privy to the goings on but maintained that it is not necessarily for the administration to offer "the up-or-down seal of approval for an agreement." But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was given a "walk through" of the framework that General Musharraf had in mind during her last trip.
"That wasn't an effort to seek her approval but, really, just to provide her the information. And I think that, over the course of time, we have had updates from the Pakistani government on the matter. But this is a sovereign decision for them to take. And they think that this is the best approach to reach what is an objective that all would share" he said.