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19 November 2017 19:48 (South Africa)

America urges Pakistan to do still more against Taliban, al-Qaeda

The Obama administration is pressing Pakistan to take the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda still further. Failure to do so could undercut the new Afghanistan strategy being considered by US President Barack Obama, officials say. Despite the public discussion about Obama's ongoing decision-making debate on Afghanistan, Pakistan's circumstances are quietly returning to centre stage. Obama's national security adviser, General James Jones, is in Islamabad with the message that the new American strategy requires Pakistan to go beyond its current offensive in South Waziristan and to tackle the groups carrying out attacks against US troops in Afghanistan as well as al-Qaeda support networks. Pakistani officials are telling Jones their worries about Obama's putative new strategy are about both the addition of more troops in Afghanistan and worries that the US commitment will end too quickly. Regarding the former concern, if Obama adds 30,000 troops, it will push Taliban fighters into Pakistan and complicate their South Waziristan offensive. As for the second, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton may have further fuelled Pakistani leaders' concerns when she said this weekend , “We have no long-term stake (in Afghanistan). We want that to be made very clear.” Read more at the New York Times And to read more on US options in Afghanistan, read more at CBS News, among others.

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