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Explain ISI's links with Taliban, US tells Zardari

Explain ISI's links with Taliban, US tells Zardari

Author: Correspondent
Publication: NDTV.com
Date: May 8, 2009
URL: http://www.ndtv.com/news/india/more_us_pressure_on_india_to_pull_back_troops_in_jk.php

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari was forced to answer America's tough questions over the ISI's links with the Taliban at the first trilateral summit meeting between US President Barack Obama, Pakistan President Zardari and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

However, none of the tough words seem to change what is essentially America's new Af-Pak policy - that of pumping billions of dollars into Pakistan to fight the growing power of the Taliban in the region.

But as President Obama and other senior American leaders told Pakistan to stop focussing on India as a key threat and look internally, instead, they also see a role for India in easing tensions.

There are indications that the US may put pressure on India to pull back troops from the western border and the Line of Control (LoC) so that Pakistani troops are free to move to the frontier, after Zardari raised the issue during the Washington meetings.
At a press conference in Washington after the trilateral summit between US President Barack Obama, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, when NDTV asked Zardari if troop withdrawal by India was one of Islamabad's demands, he did not deny it and instead, said that he hoped India and Pakistan could work together.

Earlier this week, Senator Kerry, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee introduced a bill in the US senate that aims to increase aid to Pakistan but without any restrictions and conditions attached to it.

Speaking to NDTV, Kerry also hinted towards the increased pressure on India.

"Troops issue has been discussed with India," said Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

NDTV also spoke with the Interior Minister of Pakistan who made it clear to the members of the US International Committee on Foreign Relations that Pakistan would not accept any aid attached to conditions aimed at pleasing India.

"Pakistan is facing insurgency. India should also help, as the Taliban threat is common to India and Pakistan. There needs to be a joint strategy to tackle Taliban. We want unconditional aid," said Rehman Malik.

Meanwhile, speaking to NDTV, former US ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill said that India could now expect more pressure from the Obama administration on the Kashmir issue. He also hinted towards a new low in the Indo-US ties.

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