‘Mehsud network being targeted with precision’
* Interior minister says government determined to combat Taliban, end terrorism
ISLAMABAD: The government is targeting the terror network run by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud with precision, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Wednesday.
In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Malik said Baitullah would be pursued until the elimination of his terror network.
He said the government wanted to undertake anti-terror operations in all insurgency-hit areas in order to maintain pressure on the Taliban.
The interior minister said the operation in South Waziristan Agency was not aimed at ant particular tribe, but at the terror network operating in the area.
Determination: "The government is determined to combat the Taliban and to put an end to terrorism. If we don't do it now, it will spread to the whole of the region and exacerbate the threat for the whole world," he said.
To a question on the results of the offensive in Swat, he said the army had the support of the entire population, adding that the displaced people were returning to their homes and denouncing the terrorists.
"We have discovered many caches of arms. The big difference with the previous operations is that this time we have public opinion on our side. It denounces the Taliban," Malik said.
To a query about cooperation with Afghanistan in the war on terror, the interior minister said the two countries had a “common enemy and must have a common strategy.” “It is urgent that we control the border. Thirty-five thousand Afghans or Pakistanis cross it without a visa or a passport. We have set up biometrics checkpoints. We have agreed to open an emergency telephone link and exchange information."
“During the ongoing operation, among the 1,500 arrests that we made, 90 percent concerned Afghans. There is no way through in the other direction. We are calling for reciprocal measures,” he said.
Referring to another question about the past strategies on the issue of terrorism, the interior minister said mistakes had been made in the past due to a lack of understanding that created doubts.
"We have decided to be transparent and to respond to terrorism with democracy. Dictatorships have too often favoured terrorism," he added. About his objectives to visit Paris, Malik replied that he and his French counterpart Brice Hortefeux had agreed to cooperate in the fight against terrorism and to exchange information. app