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Events in Pakistan encouraging but questions remain, says US

By Lalit K Jha in Washington
May 15, 2009 03:38 IST
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The US on Thursday termed the military action by Pakistan government against Taliban in restive tribal areas as "encouraging" but said the "biggest question" is about sustainability of the operations.
"The biggest question about these operations is their ability to sustain them over time. Historically they haven't done that. So right now I'm encouraged by what's happened, but I certainly withhold any judgment about where it goes, because
of the lack, historic lack, of sustainment," Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said.
He along with Defense Secretary Robert Gates testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, seeking lawmaker's approval for the war funding. Responding to a question from Senator John McCain about Pakistan's obsession with India, Mullen who was recently in Islamabad said the Pakistan Army still is heavily focused on India, even as there are recent encouraging signs of shifting the focus on its western border.
"There is much more focus on counterinsurgency and on the West than there had been. Pakistan Army Chief General
Pervez Ashfaq Kiyani has moved troops to the West. But I still think we've got a long way to go with respect to the
entire army thinking that the only existential threat they have is from the west," Mullen observed.
The Pakistan army has launched the military offensive on April 26 after Taliban fighters had advanced to within 100
kms from Islamabad.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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