Richard Boucher to visit Islamabad next week to finalise new ‘War on Terror’ strategy

Washington, June 27: US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher would visit Islamabad next week to convey the message that US endorses Pakistan’s strategy to empower the army to deal with militancy in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Boucher indicated that Pakistan’s new strategy for dealing with the militants will figure prominently in his talks with the Pakistani leaders when he visits Islamabad.

“I will be traveling to Pakistan next week to talk with the new government about how we can best face the challenges to combat terrorism together,” he said.

“My messages will be simple and consistently delivered to political, military and civil society leaders. I intend to say clearly that the United States welcomes and supports the democratically elected government of Pakistan,” The Dawn quoted him, as saying.

This strong message of support also echoed at a congressional hearing on Wednesday and at a briefing at the Pentagon where press secretary Geoff Morrell openly disagreed with a US government report accusing Pakistan of submitted inflated bills for anti-terrorism operations along the Afghan border.

“This is reimbursement for military operations that the Pakistanis are conducting, really on our behalf, in an area of the world that we cannot operate (in) at this point,” he said.

Morrell noted that paying the Pakistanis to conduct the operations is significantly cheaper than it would cost for the US to do it alone.

Boucher went a step ahead and advised Pakistani political parties to put aside their differences and focus on fighting terrorism and on making Pakistan a modern and moderate state.

At the State Department, deputy spokesman Tom Casey noted that Pakistan’s new strategy for dealing with terrorism brings together political parties, the military, and some of the traditional leaders in FATA to “reiterate their opposition to extremism and their desire and willingness to combat it.” (ANI)

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