Tags: Zardari | Obama | appeal | war

Pakistan President Snubs Obama War Appeal

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 10:03 PM EST

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has resisted a direct appeal from President Obama for a rapid expansion of Pakistani military operations in tribal areas and has called on the United States to speed up military assistance to Pakistani forces and to intervene more forcefully with India, its traditional adversary.

In a written response to a letter from Obama late last month, Zardari said his government was determined to take action against al-Qaeda, the Taliban and allied insurgent groups attacking U.S. forces in Afghanistan from the border area inside Pakistan. But, he said, Pakistan's efforts would be based on its own timeline and operational needs.

The message was reinforced Monday by Pakistan's military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, who told Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command, that the United States should not expect "a major operation in North Waziristan" in the coming months, according to a senior U.S. defense official. North Waziristan, one of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas on the Afghan border, is a sanctuary for the Afghan Taliban.

The letters between the two leaders, while couched in diplomatic niceties and pledging mutual respect and increased cooperation against insurgents, reflect ongoing strains in a relationship that is crucial to both.

The long-term success of Obama's new Afghanistan strategy depends on Pakistan moving forcefully against Taliban havens in the FATA and Baluchistan. U.S. ground troops are prohibited from operating inside Pakistan. To bolster Pakistan's government and military, the administration proposed, and Congress approved, a tripling in economic and development assistance and increased military aid.

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Tuesday, 15 December 2009 10:03 PM
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