Pentagon denies report over possible ground operations in Pakistan

09:10, December 22, 2010      

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Pentagon spokesman Dave Lapan on Tuesday denied a report that the United States is planning to conduct ground operations in Pakistan.

In an article published online Monday night, the New York Times reported that U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan are pushing for an expansion of ground operations across the border into Pakistan's tribal areas.

The new proposal, which has not yet been approved by President Barack Obama, reflected U.S. growing frustration with Pakistan's failure to shut down militant sanctuaries in its tribal region bordering Afghanistan which gave insurgents free pass across the border, said the report.

"We're not sure what the source of that story is, but it is inaccurate," said Lapan.

He said the U.S. has worked extensively with Pakistani authorities, and Pakistan now recognizes that terrorists in the country are an existential threat.

"We have signaled in the past, that we are ready, willing and able to work with the Pakistani military in all manner of ways," Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said in a Fox News interview.

"But they are a sovereign country, so this is a partnership, and we've got to work according to what their interests are, as well," he added.

Obama last week released the administration's review of his Afghan war strategy that saw the deployment of 30,000 additional troops.

"While the momentum achieved by the Taliban in recent years has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in some key areas, these gains remain fragile and reversible," the review said. "Consolidating those gains will require that we make more progress with Pakistan to eliminate sanctuaries for violent extremist networks."

Source: Xinhua

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