U.S. Defense Chief says won't pursue Taliban in Pakistan

09:28, December 07, 2009      

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U.S. Defense Chief Robert Gates said Sunday the United States will not pursue Taliban militants in Pakistani territory, and it's "up to the Pakistani military to deal with this problem."

In an interview with CBS's "Face the Nation", Gates said the Pakistani government is going after the Taliban leadership in their own territory.

"Pakistan is a sovereign government. We are in a partnership with them. I think at this point it's up to the Pakistani military to deal with this problem," Gates said. The interview is recorded Saturday.

The New York Time reported Friday the White House has authorized an expansion of the CIA's use of unmanned drones to seek and destroy Taliban and al-Qaeda militant targets in Pakistan. Such tactics were faced with complaints and protests from Islamabad and locals.

In the same show, Secretary of the State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States has seen a lot of changes in the way the Pakistani government is dealing with the threat of Taliban in their country.

Pakistan has stepped up the fight against Taliban and other militant groups in tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan in the past year, sending troops into these areas to rout out the Taliban.

Clinton said such measures were unseen in the past. "If you had told us a year ago that the Pakistani army would be going after Pakistani Taliban, I think a lot of people would've said no, that couldn't ever happen...But they saw the threat to their sovereignty," she said.

Source: Xinhua
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