Pakistan rejects US assessment of its terror fight

AP News
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Posted: Apr 07, 2011 8:55 AM
Pakistan rejects US assessment of its terror fight

Pakistan on Thursday rejected a White House report that criticized its efforts to defeat militants along the Afghan border, another sign of the uneasy nature of the Washington-Islamabad counterterrorism alliance.

The report released this week said Pakistan has made little progress in the past year in battling Islamist extremists and that there is "no clear path toward defeating the insurgency" in the country. It also raised concerns about political gridlock and economic problems plaguing the nation.

The U.S. considers Pakistan key to its efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and defeat al-Qaida. It has given Pakistan billions in military and other aid over the past decade to stop its soil from being used as a safe haven for Taliban and other militants fighting in Afghanistan.

In rejecting the criticism, Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua noted that Pakistan, which has staged several offensives against insurgents, had sacrificed many lives to end the extremist threat. She also said Pakistan should not be held accountable for Western failings in Afghanistan.

"We do not share the assessment of the U.S.," she said. "All the references to Pakistan are unwarranted."

Pakistan has its own means of assessing its strengths and weaknesses in counterterrorism, and it "has a clear strategy in dealing with these and other issues," Janjua added.

Also Thursday, a suicide car bomber targeted a senior police official in the southwest city of Quetta, killing a guard and wounding eight people. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban called reporters later to claim responsibility for the strike.

The attacker first opened fire and then blew up his car outside the home of Deputy Inspector General of Police Wazir Khan Nasir, said city police chief Daud Junejo. Nasir, his daughter and son were wounded but were in a stable condition at a hospital, Junejo said.

No one claimed responsibility, but Nasir's role in arresting Islamist militants and separatist insurgents meant he had made many enemies. Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province, which has long been wracked by rebel and militant attacks.

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Abdul Sattar in Quetta contributed to this report.