Pak has some ‘very dangerous people’ holed up in FATA: Richard Boucher

Richard BoucherWashington, Oct 10: US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Richard Boucher has said that ‘very dangerous things’ are happening in Pakistan and some ‘very dangerous people are holed up in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA),’ but that does not mean Pakistan as a nation is in danger.

Boucher expressed confidence in the future of democracy in Pakistan and in the new government’s willingness to fight extremism.

The Daily Times quoted Boucher He also stated that the United States is not opposed to Islamabad negotiating with militants who are ready and willing to lay down their arms. Those who do not want to take that road should be fought and defeated, he added.

The US has never been opposed to the process of negotiations as such, either in Pakistan or in Afghanistan, Boucher emphasised. However, it was clear from what he said that peace should only be made with those who have turned their back on militancy and extremism.

Boucher said there have been a lot of negotiations in FATA with tribal leaders. Those who sue for peace should be welcomed back into the fold, while those who don’t “we’ve got to fight.”

The Pakistan government, he added, is pursuing the right course. The US has offered clear support for genuine reconciliation in both Afghanistan and Pakistan''s tribal areas.

Boucher said the democratic government in Pakistan has the strong support of the United States, but it faces “enormous challenges.”

Asked if the US is alarmed at the deteriorating writ of the government in even the settled areas of the NWFP, Boucher replied that the US is concerned as militants make more and more forays into settled areas.

Boucher expressed confidence in the efforts now underway to reverse militancy. The US, he pointed out, has contributed to the proper training and equipping of the Frontier Constabulary and to help the army acquire its needs, including upgraded F-16s, a matter now in Congress.

Asked about the outcome of talks held recently in Saudi Arabia between the Afghan government and the Taliban, he replied that he “wont hang too much on it.”

He described the event as an Iftar, but made it clear that Washington supports President Karzai, and it cannot countenance a situation where a part of Afghanistan is handed over to the Taliban to run. (ANI)

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