Pakistan to keep fighting Taliban

Updated: 2011-04-16 09:15

By Ma Liyao (China Daily)

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BEIJING - A top Pakistani military think tank scholar said that the country would keep fighting the Taliban in Pakistan "to keep them contained", despite mounting criticism from Western countries.

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Pakistan has been at the frontline against terrorism, but a semi-annual White House report that was published weeks ago accused the country of lacking a "robust plan" to "defeat the Taliban" and "hold areas cleared of the al-Qaida-linked fighters".

"Western countries have the bigger responsibility to control the dynamics. Without it, Pakistan suffers both economically and militarily," visiting Lieutenant General Agha Umar Farooq, chairman of Pakistan's National Defense University (NDU), said in an interview with China Daily, adding that Taliban forces have been gaining momentum in Afghanistan.

Pakistan to keep fighting Taliban

"It's easy to dump your failures on your neighbor, but it is difficult to take responsibility and speak the truth," Farooq said. If Western countries really want to beat the Taliban in Afghanistan, "a more objective plan and pragmatic approach" should probably be taken, he said.

Regarding concerns about the potential for the Taliban to establish a political foothold in Pakistan, Farooq said that it will not be possible since they are not well-organized.

"In the recent election in Pakistan, which happened just three and a half years ago, even the religious party did not get more than 3 percent of vote," Farooq said.

The general is in Beijing for a seven-day visit along with a delegation from the military think tank, NDU, to share views with "senior civil, political and military leaders".

The discussions, which end on Friday, have centered around regional and global security issues, and opportunities for future cooperation.

"I am looking forward to holding joint seminars and workshops on global issues ranging from disaster response, ethnic violence and extremism, as well as military and strategic cooperation."

This year marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan.

China was always a trusted ally and partner of Pakistan during the past six decades and military cooperation was never at a low level, said Farooq.


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